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      William Saroyan International Prize for Writing


August 19, 2010

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Winners and Finalists Announced for
2010 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Stanford University Libraries, in partnership with the William Saroyan Foundation, announced today the winners and finalists for the fourth William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (Saroyan Prize).



The King of Vodka
by Linda Himelstein

Atmospheric Disturbances
by Rivka Galchen



Trauma Farm
by Brian Brett

apologize, apologize!
by Elizabeth Kelly

Aesop's Mirror
by Maryalice Huggins

Concord, Virginia
by Peter Neofotis

Intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation, the Saroyan Prize recognizes newly published works of both fiction and non-fiction. A prize of $5,000 is being awarded in each category.

This year's distinguished judging panel for fiction consists of Geoffrey Burn, Director of Stanford University Press; award-winning author Elizabeth McKenzie; and Hank Saroyan, writer, performer, and nephew of William Saroyan. The non-fiction panel consists of Keith Devlin, Executive Director at Stanford University's Center for the Study of Language and Information; Professor Patrick Hunt; and Fritz Maytag, legendary brewer, distiller and wine maker. More information on our judges can be found here.

"We are pleased to be awarding the Saroyan Prize once again" said Michael A. Keller, Stanford University Librarian. "The prize is obviously important to us as a way to honor Saroyan's legacy and raise awareness of his works, and we're impressed by the many quality submission we've received. We're also gratified that the preliminary review process has also become a tool to engage with our alumni and friends. We very much appreciate the efforts of our alumni volunteers in honing our short list from our remarkable group of entries and of our judges in determining our winners."

In partnership with the William Saroyan Foundation, the first William Saroyan International Prize for Writing was awarded in 2003 to Jonathan Safran Foer for his novel Everything is Illuminated (Houghton Mifflin, 2002). The second Saroyan Prize, awarded in 2005, was the first to be offered for both fiction and non-fiction. The fiction prize was awarded to George Hagen for his novel The Laments (Random House, 2004), and the non-fiction prize went to Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman for The King of California (Public Affairs, 2005). The third Saroyan Prize, awarded in 2008, coincided with the centennial of Saroyan's birth. The fiction prize was awarded to Nicole Krauss, a Stanford alumna, for her novel The History of Love (W. W. Norton, 2005). The non-fiction prize was awarded to Kiyo Sato for Dandelion Through the Crack (Willow Valley Press, 2007).

Novelist, short-story writer, dramatist, and essayist, William Saroyan was born in Fresno, California in 1908. A high-school dropout, Saroyan was largely self-educated and decided at an early age to pursue a career as a writer, drawing on his experience as an Armenian-American growing up in California. He is best known for his short stories about humorous experiences of immigrant families and children in California, and much of his work is clearly autobiographical, although similar in style and technique to fiction. Saroyan rose to literary prominence in the early 1930s when national magazines began publishing his short stories, such as The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze. He soon moved on to writing plays for Broadway and screenplays for Hollywood, including: My Heart's in the Highlands & The Time of Your Life, for which he received both New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize; The Beautiful People, and The Human Comedy. Through the 50s he continued to produce plays, short stories, and novels, and later turned to personal memoirs. He died near his hometown of Fresno at the age of seventy-two.

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Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources supports the teaching, learning and research mandates of the University through delivery of bibliographic and other information resources and services to faculty, students and staff. It is tackling the challenges of the digital age while continuing the development, preservation and conservation of its extensive print, media and manuscript collections.

The William Saroyan Foundation was founded by the author on December 30, 1966 and remains active under a Board of Trustees. Commencing in 1990, the Trustees set a goal of bringing together into one single archive his entire literary estate. A decision was finally made by the Trustees to offer Stanford University the assembled Saroyan Literary Collection with provisions that would safeguard in perpetuity one of the rare treasure troves in American literature, carrying on the legacy of Fresno, California's own native son, William Saroyan.

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