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Saroyan prize awarded for ´05

Fresno Bee (California)
July 21, 2005, Thursday FINAL EDITION

Saroyan prize awarded for '05


"The King of California" by Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman and "The
Laments" by George Hagen were the winners in the 2005 William Saroyan
International Prize for Writing announced Tuesday at Stanford
University in Palo Alto.

"The King of California" won in the nonfiction category and "The
Laments" in the fiction category. The winners will be award a $12,500
prize. There were 125 entries in both categories. 

Arax is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who lives in Fresno;
Wartzman, who lives in Los Angeles, is the paper's business editor.

"The King of California" is about J.G. Boswell and his cotton
business in the San Joaquin Valley.

Hagen lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and "The Laments" is his first novel.
It is about a family and a kidnapping and how that influences lives.

The writing prize was established to encourage new and emerging
writers and is awarded annually for newly published works in fiction
and nonfiction. The prize is awarded through Stanford University
Libraries in partnership with the William Saroyan Foundation.

It is named after Fresno native William Saroyan, who won the Pulitzer
Prize in 1940 for his play "The Time of Your Life" and an Academy
Award in 1943 for his screenplay "Human Comedy." Saroyan was the
fourth child of Armenian immigrants. He rose from poverty to literary
prominence in the 1930s with stories such as "The Daring Young Man on
the Flying Trapeze," "My Name is Aram" and "My Heart's in the
Highlands."

Saroyan, who died in 1981, wanted to establish a writing prize to
encourage and perpetuate the art he loved. He set up the William
Saroyan Foundation in 1966. Professors, business executives and
government officials have served on the foundation's board. In 1990,
the trustees offered Stanford University the assembled Saroyan
Literary Collection with provisions that would safeguard Saroyan's
work.

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