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August 12, 2008

Finalists for Saroyan Prize announced

Six books have been selected as finalists for the 2008 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing.

The nonfiction finalists are Dandelion Through the Crack, by Kiyo Sato; Return of the Condor, by John Moir; and Ticket to Exile: A Memoir, by Adam David Miller.

The fiction finalists are The Understory, by Pamela Erens; The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss; and Dead Boys, by Richard Lange.

The winners, who each will get a $12,500 prize, will be announced Sept. 5 during Stanford's Saroyan Centennial celebration. The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in Stanford's Green Library. For more information, visit

Jointly awarded by Stanford University Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation, the Saroyan Prize aims to encourage new or emerging writers and honors Saroyan's literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation.

"The Saroyan Prize is an integral part of the library's ongoing and active involvement with the Saroyan archive, but it also provides a wonderful opportunity for Stanford students and alumni, as well as literati everywhere, to interact actively with the emerging literary figures of our time," said Michael A. Keller, university librarian.

The first Saroyan Prize was awarded in 2003 to Jonathan Safran Foer for his novel Everything Is Illuminated (2002). The second Saroyan Prize, awarded in 2005, was the first to be offered for both fiction and nonfiction. The fiction prize was awarded to George Hagen for his novel The Laments (2004); the nonfiction prize went to Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman for The King of California (2005).

This year's fiction judges are Geoffrey Burn, director of Stanford University Press; author Bo Caldwell (The Distant Land of My Father); and Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, the Albert Guérard Professor in Literature at Stanford.

The nonfiction judges are Keith Devlin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford; clinical psychologist Ginger Rhodes; author Richard Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb); and Hank Saroyan, a writer, performer and nephew of William Saroyan. More information on the judges can be found at



John Sanford, News Service: (650) 736-2151,


Mimi Calter, Stanford University Libraries: (650) 725-5813,

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