Press Release: 2016 Saroyan Prize Shortlist

Stanford University Libraries announces shortlist for the seventh 
William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (Saroyan Prize).


  • Faint Promise of Rain 
         by Anjali Mitter Duva (She Writes Press)
  • Chase Us 
         by Sean Ennis (Little A)
  • A Village in the Fields 
         by Patty Enrado (Eastwind Books of Berkeley)
  • 'Til the Well Runs Dry 
         by Lauren Francis-Sharma (Henry Holt & Co.)
  • Now We Will Be Happy 
         by Amina Gautier (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Welcome to Braggsville 
         by T. Geronimo Johnson (HarperCollins)
  • Counternarratives 
         by John Keene (New Directions)
  • The Gender of Inanimate Objects 
         by Laura Marello (Tailwinds Press)
  • Ghost Horse 
         by Thomas H. McNeely (Gival Press)
  • The Ash Tree 
         by Daniel Melnick (West of West Books)
  • A Hero 
         by Charlotte R. Mendel (Inanna Publications)
  • Waiting for the Electricity 
         by Christina Nichol (The Overlook Press)
  • The Given World 
         by Marian Palaia (Simon & Schuster)
  • Backlands 
         by Victoria Shorr (W.W. Norton & Co.)
  • Better Than War 
         by Siamak Vossoughi (University of Georgia Press)


  • The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World
    by Joel K. Bourne Jr. (W.W. Norton & Co.)
  • Speed Kings: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World
    by Andy Bull (Avery)
  • The Four Words for Home: A Memoir of Two Families
    by Angie Chuang (Willow Books)
  • Down from the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging
    by Joshua Doležal (University of Iowa Press)
  • Russian Tattoo
         by Elena Gorokhova (Simon & Schuster)
  • Dispatches from the Front: The Life of Matthew Halton, Canada's Voice at War
    by David Halton (McClelland & Stewart)
  • Bettyville
    by George Hodgman (Viking)
  • Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe
    by Lori Jakiela (Atticus Books)
  • The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka's Civil War
    by Rohini Mohan  (Verso)
  • A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps: My Mother's Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade
         by Barbara Rylko-Bauer (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape
    by Lauret Savoy (Counterpoint)
  • Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War
    by Susan Southard (Viking)
  • There Was and There Was Not
    by Meline Toumani (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Co.)
  • The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return
    by Kenan Trebin?evi? and Susan Shapiro (Penguin Books)
  • Crossing the Line: A Marriage Across Borders
    by Linda Valdez (TCU Press)

The awards are intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation. The Saroyan Prize recognizes newly published works of both fiction and non-fiction. A prize of $5,000 will be awarded in each category. Winners and finalists will be announced this summer.

This year's distinguished judging panel for fiction consists of award-winning authors Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Heidi Durrow and Elizabeth McKenzie. The non-fiction panel includes musician and bibliophile Fritz Kasten; Hank Saroyan, writer, performer, and nephew of William Saroyan; and the Barron Park Book Group. More information on our judges can be found here.

"The prize provides a great opportunity to learn about and engage with remarkable emerging authors, all while highlighting the talents of Saroyan himself," said Michael A. Keller, university librarian at Stanford.

Stanford Libraries holds The Saroyan Prize every other year and in 2014 named winners Kiese Laymon (Long Division, Agate Bolden, 2013) for fiction and Margalit Fox (The Riddle of the Labyrinth, HarperCollins Publishers, 2013) for the non-fiction category.

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 TrapezeMy Name Is AramInhale & ExhaleThree 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.


Contact: Sonia Lee
650-736-9538 (office)

Monday, May 2, 2016