Shortlist Announced for the 2024 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Press release

William Saroyan

The Stanford University Libraries is pleased to present the shortlist for the eleventh William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (Saroyan Prize), a Prize intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation. The Prize recognizes newly published works of both fiction and non-fiction. $5,000 will be awarded in each category. Winners and finalists will be announced in late summer/early fall. The 2024 Saroyan Prize shortlist is as follows:

In the Fiction Category:

A Nearby Country Called Love (Viking, 2023) by Salar Abdoh

Carmen and Grace  (William Morrow, 2023) by Melissa Coss Aquino

The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land (Random House, 2022) by Omer Friedlander

Here Lies (Grove Press, 2022) by Olivia Clare Friedman

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century (Tin House, 2022) by Kim Fu

A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times  (Restless Books, 2022) by Meron Hadero

Enter Ghost  (Grove Press, 2023) by Isabella Hammad

Light Skin Gone to Waste (University of Georgia Press, 2022) by Toni Ann Johnson

8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster (Harper, 2023) by Mirinae Lee

An Olive Grove in Ends (Little, Brown and Company, 2022) by Moses McKenzie

Call and Response (Viking, 2023) by Gothataone Moeng

Beautiful Beautiful (Nightwood Editions, 2023) by Brandon Reid

Company  (Graywolf Press, 2023) by Shannon Sanders

A Map for the Missing (Penguin Press, 2022) by Belinda Huijuan Tang

Dearborn (Tin House, 2023) by Ghassan Zeineddine

In the Nonfiction Category:

The Hunger Book: A Memoir from Communist Poland (Mad Creek Books, 2023) by Agata Izabela Brewer

A Living Remedy: A Memoir (Ecco, 2023) by Nicole Chung

The Cost of Free Land: Jews, Lakota, and an American Inheritance  (Viking, 2023) by Rebecca Clarren

A Coastline Is an Immeasurable Thing: A Memoir Across Three Continents  (Ecco, 2022) by Mary-Alice Daniel

The Hungry Season: A Journey of War, Love, and Survival  (Little, Brown and Company, 2023) by Lisa M. Hamilton

Uncommon Measure: A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time  (Bellevue Literary Press, 2022) by Natalie Hodges

I Would Meet You Anywhere: A Memoir  (Mad Creek Books, 2023) by Susan Kiyo Ito

The Wreck: A Daughter's Memoir of Becoming a Mother  (Viking, 2023) by Cassandra Jackson

Farewell Transmission: Notes from Hidden Spaces (Dzanc Books, 2022) by Will McGrath

Orphan Bachelors: A Memoir (Grove Press, 2023) by Fae Myenne Ng

Hardship Alaska: A Memoir (Epicenter Press, 2023) by Donald Proffit

Ma and Me  (MCD, 2022) by Putsata Reang

All Water Has Perfect Memory: A Memoir (Jaded Ibis Press, 2023) by Nada Samih-Rotondo

Sink: A Memoir (Grand Central Publishing, 2023) by Joseph Earl Thomas

Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt  (Grove Press, 2022) by Phoebe Zerwick

Congratulations to the authors and publishers!

The Saroyan Prize is a biennial competition jointly awarded by the Stanford University Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation. It commemorates the life, legacy and intentions of William Saroyan - author, artist, dramatist, composer - and is intended to encourage new or emerging writers, rather than to recognize established literary figures. The 2022 winners were Claire Oshetsky (Chouette, Ecco, 2021) for the fiction category, and Wayétu Moore (The Dragons, the Giant, the Women, Graywolf Press, 2020) for the non-fiction category.

"Over 240 enthusiastic Stanford alumni and friends volunteered as readers and judges for the eleventh awarding of the Saroyan Prize," said University Librarian Michael A. Keller. "We join with them in encouraging the creativity of new and emerging authors and in congratulating those whose works were selected for the 2024 Shortlist."

This year's distinguished judging panel for fiction consists of authors Sumbul Ali-Karamali and Elizabeth McKenzie, and Scott Setrakian, President of the William Saroyan Foundation. The non-fiction panel includes authors and past Saroyan Prize winners, Mark Arax and Lori Jakiela, and musician and bibliophile Fritz Kasten. More information about our judges can be found on the Saroyan Prize website.

Literary fiction, including novels, short story collections, and drama, are eligible for the Saroyan Fiction Prize. Literary non-fiction of any length is eligible for the Saroyan Non-fiction Prize, most particularly writing in the Saroyan tradition: memoirs, portraits and excursions into neighborhood and community. Entries in either category are limited to English language publications that are available for individual purchase by the general public.

William Saroyan, an American writer and playwright, is a Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winner best known for his short stories about humorous experiences of immigrant families and children in California. Much of Saroyan's other work is clearly autobiographical, although similar in style and technique to fiction. Saroyan was the fourth child of Armenian immigrants. He battled his way through poverty and rose to literary prominence in the early 1930s when national magazines began publishing his short stories, such as The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, My Name Is Aram, Inhale & Exhale, Three Times Three, and Peace, It's Wonderful. Saroyan soon moved on to writing plays for Broadway and screenplays for Hollywood, including: My Heart's in the Highlands, The Time of Your Life, The Beautiful People, and The Human Comedy.