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.