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Jan. 31 is deadline for biennial Saroyan writing prize entries

Stanford University Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation have announced the second biennial William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, awarded to encourage new or emerging writers, will expand to include a non-fiction category. The prize was first awarded in 2003 to novelist Jonathan Safran Foer for Everything Is Illuminated. The deadline for entries to be received by the Stanford University Libraries is Jan. 31, 2005.

Two $12,500 prizes will be awarded in the competition. The fiction category includes novels, short stories, dramatic works or memoirs; the non-fiction category will consider biography, history or works on the environment. Works must be in English, must be available to the general public for purchase and must have been first published during 2003 or 2004. Official entry forms and competition rules are available at http://saroyanprize.stanford.edu.

Three finalists will be chosen in each category. Finalists will be announced in June 2005 and the winners will be announced at a public ceremony on campus on July 19, 2005.

William Saroyan, an American writer and playwright, is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Time of Your Life (1939-40), the novel The Human Comedy (1943) and numerous volumes of short stories, essays and memoirs. Born in Fresno in 1908 to Armenian parents, he is best known for his short stories about the experiences of immigrant families and children in California. He died in 1981.

Stanford University Libraries houses the William Saroyan Collection, which includes manuscripts, personal journals, correspondence, drawings and other material.

"As custodians of the Saroyan archive, we consider the Saroyan writing prize to be an important and integral activity," said University Librarian Michael Keller. "As a research library, our role is far greater than merely accumulating, preserving and providing access to archival collections. We are also called to promote the resources and points of view that present themselves in those collections. The Saroyan writing prize is a powerful and meaningful way to fulfill that role."