May 6, 2022
We are thrilled that Sown in Earth by Fred Arroyo was chosen for the nonfiction section of the Stanford Libraries’ shortlist for the tenth 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. Winners and finalists will be announced in late summer or early fall.
View the entire shortlist here.
The Saroyan Prize is a biennial competition jointly awarded by the Stanford 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 Prize engaged over 230 Stanford alumni and friends who participate as readers and judges. “On this tenth anniversary of the Prize, we were thrilled to have a record number of entries submitted by new and emerging writers and evaluated by a dedicated, enthusiastic band of volunteers,” said Vice Provost and Ida M. Green University Librarian Michael Keller.
This year’s distinguished judging panel for fiction consists of award-winning authors Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Richard Holeton, and Elizabeth McKenzie. The non-fiction panel includes Stanford Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus John Bender, author and 2016 Saroyan Prize winner Lori Jakiela, and Scott Setrakian Vice Chairman of Foundry.ai, and board member of the William Saroyan Foundation. More information on our judges can be found here.
By crafting a written journey through childhood traumas, poverty, and the impact of alcoholism on families, Fred Arroyo clearly outlines how his lived experiences led him to become a writer. Sown in Earth is a shocking yet warm collage of memories that serves as more than a memoir or an autobiography. Rather, Arroyo recounts his youth through lyrical prose to humanize and immortalize the hushed lives of men like his father, honoring their struggle and claiming their impact on the writers and artists they raised.