William Saroyan was born this day, 31 August 1908 (d: 18 May 1981); he was a prolific writer of immigrant parents who based many of his stories on his childhood experiences during the Great Depression as well as the rootlessness of immigrants. Mr. Saroyan is known for his short stories and insightful texts. He won a Pulitzer Prize for for his play The Time of Your Life (1939).
1 ) Saroyan’s was left fatherless at the tender age of 3. He was raised in an orphanage along with his brother and sister.
2 ) After his mother reunited the family, Saroyan helped out by selling newspapers at age eight.
3 ) After he saw his father’s writing, Saroyan decided to become a writer.
4 ) The first stories Saroyan wrote appeared in Overland Monthly, some under the name Sirak Goryan .
5 ) My Name is Aram, a short story collection, was published in 1940 and became an international best seller.
6 ) Saroyan’s breakthrough story The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934) takes its name from a 19th Century song.
7 ) During World War II Saroyan served in the US Army and was stationed in … Astoria, Queens (New York City). However, in 1942 Saroyan was posted in London as part of a film unit.
8 ) During his time in the Army, he published The Adventures of Wesley Jackson which was thought to advocate pacifism. He barely avoided a court martial for that “crime”.
9 ) The author hardly edited his text, gambled and drank away his earnings.
10) Saroyan’s advice to a young writer was: “Try to learn to breathe deeply; really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell”.
Zohar – Man of la Book