Today is William Saroyan's 105th birth anniversary

15:31 31.08.2013

William Saroyan

Today is the 105th birth anniversary of great American Armenian writer
William Saroyan.

William Saroyan was born on August 31, 1908 in Fresno, California to
Armenak and Takoohi Saroyan, Armenian immigrants from Bitlis, Ottoman
Empire. His father came to New York in 1905 and started preaching in
Armenian Apostolic Churches.

At the age of three, after his father's death, Saroyan, along with his
brother and sister, was placed in an orphanage in Oakland, California.
Five years later, the family reunited in Fresno.

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

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.

As a writer, Saroyan made his breakthrough in Story magazine with The
Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934), the title taken from
the nineteenth century song of the same title. The protagonist is a
young, starving writer who tries to survive in a Depression-ridden

Saroyan published essays and memoirs, in which he depicted the people
he had met on travels in the Soviet Union and Europe, such as the
playwright George Bernard Shaw, the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius,
and Charlie Chaplin. In 1952, Saroyan published The Bicycle Rider in
Beverly Hills, the first of several volumes of memoirs.

Saroyan died in Fresno, of cancer at age 71. Half of his ashes were
buried in California and the remainder in Armenia at Komitas Pantheon
near film director Sergei Parajanov.