skip to page content | skip to main navigation
      William Saroyan International Prize for Writing


May 15, 2012

Sonia Lee
(650) 736-9538,

Shortlist Announced for
2012 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Stanford University Libraries announced today the shortlist for the fifth William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (Saroyan Prize).


Black Elephants
by Karol Nielsen

The Chimps of
Fauna Sanctuary
by Andrew Westoll

Bear Down, Bear North
by Melinda Moustakis

The Dance Boots
by Linda LeGarde Grover

Confessions of a
Left-Handed Man
by Peter Selgin

Family of Shadows
by Garin K. Hovannisian

by Diana McCaulay

East of the West
by Miroslav Penkov

The Good Daughter
by Jasmin Darznik

by John Jeremiah Sullivan

The Free World
by David Bezmozgis

The Gendarme
by Mark T. Mustian

Rattlesnake Daddy
by Brent Spencer

by Arion Golmakani

Leaving the Atocha Station
by Ben Lerner

Lunch Bucket Paradise
by Fred Setterberg

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Tales from a Mountain City
by Quynh Dao

The Madonnas of Echo Park
by Brando Skyhorse

by Daniel Orozco

The Tenth Parallel
by Eliza Griswold

Under Surge, Under Siege
by Ellis Anderson

by Ismet Prcic

Skippy Dies
by Paul Murray


Standing at the Crossroads
by Charles Davis

The Submission
by Amy Waldman

This Is Not Your City
by Caitlin Horrocks

The awards are 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 will be awarded in each category. Winners will be announced this summer.

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

Literary fiction, including novels, short story collections, and drama, are eligible for the Saroyan Fiction Prize. Literary non-fiction of any length is eligible for the Saroyan Non-fiction Prize, most particularly writing in the Saroyan tradition: memoirs, portraits and excursions into neighborhood and community. Entries in either category are limited to English language publications that are available for individual purchase by the general public.

"Stanford is thrilled once again to honor the literary legacy of William Saroyan by awarding The William Saroyan International Prize for Writing," said Michael A. Keller, Stanford University Librarian. "However, the prize not only allows us to recognize the talents of an author whose archive we are pleased to hold but as well to engage with new authors, whose works are often found to be of wide interest and significance. In addition, Stanford gets another opportunity to engage with a remarkable team of alumni who serve both on our judging panel and as volunteer reviewers."

The Saroyan Prize was last awarded in 2010, when the fiction prize went to Rivka Galchen for her novel Atmospheric Disturbances (Picador, 2009) and the non-fiction prize went to Linda Himelstein for The King of Vodka (HarperBusiness, 2009). Other notable winners include Jonathan Safran Foer in 2003 for his novel Everything is Illuminated (Houghton Mifflin, 2002). George Hagen in 2005 for his novel The Laments (Random House, 2004), and Kiyo Sato in 2008 for Dandelion Through the Crack (Willow Valley Press, 2007).

William Saroyan, an American writer and playwright, is a Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winner best known for his short stories about humorous experiences of immigrant families and children in California. Much of Saroyan's other work is clearly autobiographical, although similar in style and technique to fiction. Saroyan was the fourth child of Armenian immigrants. He battled his way through poverty and 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, My Name Is Aram, Inhale & Exhale, Three Times Three, and Peace, It's Wonderful. Saroyan soon moved on to writing plays for Broadway and screenplays for Hollywood, including: My Heart's in the Highlands, The Time of Your Life, The Beautiful People, and The Human Comedy.

# # #

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.

# # #

William Saroyan International Prize for Writing homepage:


Stanford seal Last modified: May 15, 2012
© Stanford University. Stanford, CA 94305. (650) 723-2300. Terms of Use | Copyright Complaints
[an error occurred while processing this directive]