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  William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

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2012 Fiction Judges

Minal Hajratwala

Minal Hajratwala is the author of Leaving India: My Family's Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), which has been called "incomparable" by Alice Walker and "searingly honest" by the Washington Post. The book won a Pen USA Award, an Asian American Writers Workshop Award, a Lambda Literary Award, a California Book Award (Silver, Nonfiction), and was shortlisted for the Saroyan International Writing Prize. She spent seven years researching and writing the book, traveling the world to interview more than seventy-five members of her extended family.

Ms. Hajratwala is a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar spending the 2010-2011 academic year in India researching a novel, while also writing poems about the unicorns of the 5,000-year-old Indus Valley civilization. She is the editor of The Queer Ink Anthology: Contemporary LGBT Stories of India, forthcoming in 2012 from Queer Ink Publishing. Her creative work has received recognition and support from the Sundance Institute, the Jon Sims Center for the Arts, the SerpentSource Foundation, and the Hedgebrook writing retreat for women, where she has served on the Alumnae Leadership Council. Her one-woman show, "Avatars: Gods for a New Millennium," was commissioned by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco for World AIDS Day in 1999.

As a journalist, she worked at the San Jose Mercury News from 1992 to 2000 as an editor, reporter, and the newspaper's first reader representative (ombudsperson). She was a National Arts Journalism Program fellow at Columbia University in 2000-01. She is a graduate of Stanford University. http://www.minalhajratwala.com


Patrick Hunt

Patrick Hunt earned his Ph.D. from the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, University of London in 1991. He has been teaching humanities, the arts, archaeology and mythology at Stanford University since 1993. His Hannibal Expedition was sponsored in 2007-2008 by the National Geographic Society's Expedition Council. He is Director of the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project 1994-2009. He is also a National Lecturer 2009-2010 for the Archaeological Institute of America.

Hunt's published books include: CARAVAGGIO (2004); a collection of poems, HOUSE OF THE MUSE (2005), which he also illustrated; REMBRANDT (2006); ALPINE ARCHAEOLOGY (2007); and TEN DISCOVERIES THAT REWROTE HISTORY (2007). He recreated Greek myth stories as short story fables in MYTHS FOR ALL TIME (2007). His most recent books, RENAISSANCE VISIONS: MYTH AND ART, and another, a literary study POETRY IN THE SONG OF SONGS, were published in 2008. Another poetry book is forthcoming in late 2009. To date Hunt has 50+ peer-reviewed journal and encyclopedia articles published. Hunt is also a poet, biographer, classical music composer, and illustrator, having illustrated Richard Martin's MYTHS OF ANCIENT GREECE (2003). In spring 2009 Hunt was in Copenhagen as an invited scholar for the Royal Danish Theater Opera's Lucretia production and at the related Lucretia Symposium on Britten's opera; he has also written program notes for the San Francisco Opera's 2004 Tosca production. Several arias from his opera-in-progress Byron in Greece have been performed in London, Switzerland, and Stanford between 2006-8, along with his lieder-art songs setting William Blake poems to new music compositions. Selected prior compositions such as Songs of Exile: By the Rivers of Babylon were performed in 1999 at Duke University and Washington DC.

Some of his recent poetry was published in 2009 by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, and in 2008 in the PENGUIN BOOK OF CLASSICAL MYTHS in London. http://www.patrickhunt.net


Elizabeth McKenzie

Elizabeth McKenzie's short fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, the Pushcart Prize anthology, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Threepenny Review, and many other literary journals. Her story collection Stop That Girl was short-listed for The Story Prize, and was a Newsday and Library Journal top ten Book of the Year. Her novel MacGregor Tells the World was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the year, a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book, and a Library Journal Top Ten Book of the year. She was  the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Japan-US Friendship Commission Creative Artist Fellowship in 2010, and is the editor of an anthology of contemporary Japanese literature forthcoming in 2012 entitled My Postwar Life.  McKenzie received her MA from Stanford in English and Creative Writing, and is the Editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review. http://www.macgregortells.com

2012 Nonfiction Judges

Keith Devlin

Keith Devlin is a Senior Researcher and Executive Director at Stanford University's Center for the Study of Language and Information. He is also a Consulting Professor in the Department of Mathematics, and a co-founder of both the Stanford Media X research network and of the university's H-STAR institute. He is a World Economic Forum Fellow and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His current research is focused on the use of different media to teach and communicate mathematics to diverse audiences, and he also works on the design of information/reasoning systems for intelligence analysis. Other research interests include: theory of information, models of reasoning, applications of mathematical techniques in the study of communication, and mathematical cognition. He has written 26 books and over 75 published research articles, and has been awarded the 2001 Communications Award of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics, the 2003 Peano Prize, the 2005 Pythagoras Prize, and the 2007 Carl Sagan Award. He is "the Math Guy" on National Public Radio.


Fritz Maytag

In 1965 Fritz Maytag, Stanford Class of 1959, acquired the Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco and became a pioneer of American microbrewing. Since then, he has not only preserved the tradition of Anchor Steam Beer, but he has also made Anchor a national brand without ever compromising his high standards. In the 1980s and 1990s, due in part to Maytag's example, more than one thousand small breweries sprouted up all over the country. Today, American microbrewed beers rate among the finest beers in the world, and the return to traditional brewing methods has become a world-wide phenomenon, producing a veritable flood of creative and delicious beers.

In 1993 Maytag launched the Anchor Distilling Company whose Old Potrero Rye Whiskey and Junipero Gin quickly became models for a burgeoning artisanal distilling movement in America and around the world.

In addition to his position as president and brewmaster of Anchor, since the 1960s Maytag has steered his family's Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton, Iowa. Maytag Blue cheese, produced since 1941, was a creation of Fritz's father, and the company has been a leader in the American artisanal cheese renaissance. Sold almost entirely by mail for the first few decades, Maytag Blue has become a familiar sight in fine restaurants and food shops in recent years.

Maytag is also the owner of York Creek Vineyards in the Spring Mountain District above St. Helena, where he grows more than a dozen grape varieties, and last year celebrated his 39th harvest. In 2003 he won the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional Award, and the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He currently serves on the Foundation's National Advisory Board. (Source: James Beard Foundation)


Hank Saroyan

Hank Saroyan's thirty-five year career in entertainment has run the gamut from performing, to writing, producing, directing, and composing for television and features. He is one of few directors with Emmy Awards for directing in live-action (William Saroyan's The Parsley Garden) and animation (Jim Henson's Muppet Babies.)

Between projects, Hank can be found on stage performing "A Tribute to William Saroyan--In His Own Words," accompanied by renowned jazz and classical musicians such as cellist, Eugene Friesen, pianist, Philip Aaberg and others. Kevin Starr, friend of William Saroyan and Professor of History at University of Southern California, wrote:

"There is music in the prose of William Saroyan and his nephew Hank Saroyan and his colleagues are now releasing that music with new intensity through a magic amalgam of musical artistry and the spoken word. William Saroyan now speaks to us, once again, with the full force of his living presence."



2010 Judges

Geoffrey Burn
Keith Devlin
Patrick Hunt
Fritz Maytag
Elizabeth McKenzie
Hank Saroyan


2008 Judges

Geoffrey Burn
Bo Caldwell
Keith Devlin
Hans Gumbrecht
Ginger Rhodes
Richard Rhodes
Hank Saroyan


2005 Judges

Eavan Boland
Steve Leveen
Geoffrey Nunberg
Burt Prelutsky
Ginger Rhodes
Richard Rhodes
Hank Saroyan


2003 Judges

Eavan Boland
Geoffrey Nunberg
Hank Saroyan
Alberto Vitale


Last modified: October 1, 2012
   
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