Calling all kids! Fresno’s William Saroyan Society is holding its annual student writing contest.
The contest is presented in association with the Fresno County Public Library and the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, and it’s open to students in grades 1 through 12. Cash prizes will be awarded in five divisions, based on grade level. First place recipients will receive $100, second place $75, and third place $50.
This year’s theme is mistakes. Entries will be judged by local educators, writers, and librarians.
Society preserves Saroyan’s legacy
William Saroyan was born in Fresno to Armenian immigrant parents in 1908. He grew up to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and playwright. Some of his most well-known works are The Human Comedy and My Name is Aram. The Fresno County Public Library is home to one of the largest collections of Saroyan’s writings. He wrote actively until his death in 1981.
While Saroyan’s name lives on through the William Saroyan Theatre and Saroyan Elementary School in Central Unified, many present-day Valley residents know little about one of Fresno’s most famous residents.
“Since 1985, the William Saroyan Society has supported projects and activities that expand public awareness of Fresno’s most famous writer,” says Rod Janzen, president of the William Saroyan Society.
The non-profit organization works to educate the public about the human values depicted in Saroyan’s writings.
Saroyan once said, “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom from failure. We get very little wisdom from success.” In that spirit, for the contest, students are asked to write about a time in their life when they’ve made a mistake, and what they learned from it.
The deadline to submit an essay is Sunday, April 15. An awards ceremony will take place at the Woodward Park Regional Library on Wednesday, May 23.
To learn more about the contest and to download an entry form, click here.
If you are interested in learning more about Saroyan, the William Saroyan Society is in talks to host a downtown Fresno Walking Tour. The free event will likely take place in June. Event-goers will visit some of Saroyan’s old stomping grounds and learn more about his life and legacy. You can keep up to date on the William Saroyan Society at their website or on Facebook.