My Heart’s in the Highlands: Today is William Saroyan’s 112th birth anniversary – Public Radio of Armenia

Posted: September 2, 2020 at 1:56 am


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August 31 is the birthday ofgreat American Armenian writer William Saroyan.

William Saroyan was born on August 31, 1908 inFresno, Californiato Armenak and Takoohi Saroyan,Armenianimmigrants 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 fathers death, Saroyan, along with his brother and sister, was placed in an orphanage inOakland, California. Five years later, the family reunited in Fresno.

Saroyan decided to become a writer after his mother showed him some of his fathers writings. A few of his early short articles were published inOverland Monthly. His first stories appeared in the 1930s.

The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness. William Saroyan,My Hearts in the Highlands

Among these was The Broken Wheel, written under the name Sirak Goryan and published in the Armenian journalHairenikin 1933. Many of Saroyans stories were based on his childhood experiences among the Armenian-American fruit growers of theSan Joaquin Valleyor dealt with the rootlessness of the immigrant. The short story collectionMy 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 inStorymagazine withThe Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze(1934), the title taken from the nineteenth centurysong of the same title. The protagonist is a young, starving writer who tries to survive in a Depression-ridden society.

It is simply in the nature of Armenian to study, to learn, to question, to speculate, to discover, to invent, to revise, to restore, to preserve, to make, and to give. William Saroyan

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 playwrightGeorge Bernard Shaw, the Finnish composerJean Sibelius, andCharlie Chaplin. In 1952, Saroyan publishedThe Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the first of several volumes ofmemoirs.

Saroyan died in Fresno, ofcancerat age 71. Half of his ashes were buried in California and the remainder in Armenia atKomitas Pantheonnear film directorSergei Parajanov.

The Fresno home where the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and playwright lived out his final years opened to the public as an interactive museum in 2018.

On that occasion the Fresno City Council issued a proclamation declaring Friday August 31st, 2018 as William Saroyan Day in the City of Fresno.

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My Heart's in the Highlands: Today is William Saroyan's 112th birth anniversary - Public Radio of Armenia

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September 2nd, 2020 at 1:56 am

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