William Saroyan's picture

William Saroyan

USA flag (1908 - 1981)
Father of Aram Saroyan

William Saroyan was an American - Armenian author. The setting of many of his stories and plays was Fresno, California (sometimes under a fictional name), the center of Armenian-American life in California and where he grew up.
Saroyan was born in Fresno, California to Armenian immigrants from Bitlis, Turkey. At the age of three, after his father's death, Saroyan was placed in the orphanage in Oakland, California, together with his brother and sister, an experience he later described in his writing. Five years later, the family reunited in Fresno, where his mother, Takoohi, secured work at a cannery. He continued his education on his own, supporting himself by taking odd jobs, such as working as an office manager for the San Francisco Telegraph Company.

Saroyan decided to become a writer after his mother showed him some of his father's writings. A few of his early short articles were published in Overland Monthly. His first stories appeared in the 1930s. Among these was "The Broken Wheel", written under the name Sirak Goryan and published in the Armenian journal Hairenik in 1933. Many of Saroyan's stories were based on his childhood experiences among the Armenian-American fruit growers of the San Joaquin Valley, or dealt with the rootlessness of the immigrant. The short story collection My Name is Aram (1940), an international bestseller, was about a young boy and the colorful characters of his immigrant family. It has been translated into many languages.

Genres: Literary Fiction
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   The Daring Young Man On the Flying Trapeze (1934)
   Inhale and Exhale (1936)
   Three Times Three (1936)
   The Gay and Melancholy Flux (1937)
   Little Children (1937)
   Love, Here Is My Hat (1938)
   A Native American (1938)
   The Trouble with Tigers (1938)
   Peace, It's Wonderful (1939)
   Three Plays (1940)
   Saroyan's Fables (1941)
   Razzle Dazzle (1942)
   Dear Baby (1944)
   Some Day I'll Be a Millionaire (1944)
   The Insurance Salesman and Other Stories (1946)
   The Time of Your Life and Other Plays (1946)
   The Saroyan Special (1948)
   Don't Go Away Mad, and Two Other Plays (1949)
   The Assyrian, and Other Stories (1950)
   The Twin Adventures (1950)
   Quintet (1956) (with Guy de Maupassant, Aldous Huxley, Leo Tolstoy and Richard Wright)
   The Whole Voyald, and Other Stories (1957)
   The William Saroyan Reader (1958)
   Best Stories of William Saroyan (1964)
   My Kind of Crazy, Wonderful People (1964)
   Look At Us, Etc,etc, (1967)
   I Used to Believe I Had Forever, Now I'm Not So Sure (1968)
   The Man with the Heart in the Highlands (1968)
   The Dogs; or, The Paris Comedy (1969)
   Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon (1971)
   An Act Or Two of Foolish Kindness (1977)
   Two Short Paris Summertime Plays of Nineteen Seventy-Four (1979)
   The New Saroyan Reader (1984)
   An Armenian Trilogy (1986)
   Madness in the Family (1988)
   Warsaw Visitor (1990)
   Fresno Stories (1994)
   Essential Saroyan (2005)
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