Jan. 31 is entry deadline for biennial Saroyan Prize for fiction, non-fiction

Stanford University Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation are calling for entries for the fifth William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, awarded to encourage new or emerging writers in fiction and non-fiction.

A prize of $5,000 will be awarded in each category.  

Entries must be received on or before Jan. 31, 2012. Entry forms and rules for the Saroyan Prize are available online.

The fiction category includes novels, short story collections and drama. Literary non-fiction of any length will be considered for the Saroyan non-fiction prize.  Judges will be looking for strong literary merit that honors the Saroyan tradition, particularly in non-fiction memoirs, portraits and excursions into neighborhood and community.

Entries in either category are limited to English language books that are available for individual purchase by the general public.

The Saroyan Prize was last awarded in 2010, when the fiction prize went to Rivka Galchen for her novel Atmospheric Disturbances and the non-fiction prize went to Linda Himelstein for The King of Vodka. Other notable winners include Jonathan Safran Foer in 2003 for his novel Everything is Illuminated.  George Hagen won in 2005 for his novel The Laments, and Kiyo Sato won in 2008 for her memoir Dandelion Through the Crack

William Saroyan, an American writer and playwright, was the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Time of Your Life (1939-40), the novel The Human Comedy (1943) and many 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.

Sonia Lee, Stanford University Libraries: (650) 736-9538, [email protected].

Cynthia Haven, Stanford News Service: (650) 724-6184, [email protected]