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Andrew Herkovic, foundation relations and strategic projects, Stanford University Libraries: (650) 725-1877,

Winner of 2002 Saroyan Writing Prize to be announced July 22

The winner of the first William Saroyan International Prize for Writing will be announced Tuesday, July 22, during a ceremony on the Stanford campus.

Of roughly 150 contestants, three remain. One will take home the $12,500 purse. "Not even the prizewinner will be notified in advance," said Stanford Librarian Michael Keller. "All three finalists will be invited with the clear understanding that they stand a one-in-three chance."

The announcement is set to take place at 8:15 p.m. between Meyer and Green Libraries.

The finalists are Jonathan Safran Foer, nominated for his novel Everything is Illuminated (Houghton Mifflin, 2002); Hari Kunzru, nominated for his novel The Impressionist (Hamish Hamilton, 2002); and Adam Rapp, nominated for his play Nocturne (Faber and Faber, 2002).

Organizers of the biennial prize, which is co-sponsored by Stanford University Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation, say they would like to see it join the ranks of such eminent literary awards as the PEN/Faulkner Prize for Fiction, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Judging the entries were English Professor Eavan Boland, an essayist and award-winnng poet whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic and The American Poetry Review; linguist Geoffrey Nunberg, a senior researcher at Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information \who is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times' Week in Review and a regularly featured commentator on National Public Radio's Fresh Air; Hank Saroyan, nephew of the late novelist and a two-time Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and director; and Alberto Vitale, the former chief executive officer of Random House.

"It was Saroyan's desire to establish a writing prize to encourage and perpetuate the art he so loved," said Robert Setrakian, chairman of the Saroyan Foundation.

Stanford University Libraries houses the world's largest William Saroyan archive, including an extensive collection of papers assembled by the author himself.



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