Over thirty-five San Joaquin Valley and State organizations are cooperating to celebrate the William Saroyan Centennial (the 100th anniversary of his birth) in 2008. They will present a series of exhibitions, musical performances, lectures, school activities, theatrical productions and readings, historical discussions, and literary events focusing on Saroyan’s work and his life in the San Joaquin Valley. Events are planned for the entire year, with special activities planned around his birthday, August 31, and a memorial tribute on the anniversary of his death, May 18.
Saroyan’s art will be exhibited at various art centers in the Central Valley. Vibrant plans of theatrical and cinematic events are planned. Colleges and universities throughout the state as well as Central Valley theatre groups will honor Saroyan with productions of his plays and theatrical readings.
California State University, Fresno is playing a major role in the yearlong centennial with events on campus and with faculty members sharing their expertise throughout the community. The university’s College of Arts and Humanities and the college’s Armenian Studies Program , with the Theatre Arts and English departments, are among the sponsors of the William Saroyan Centennial. Fresno State’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Henry Madden Library are sponsors, too
The celebration is dedicated to the memory of Fresno’s best-known writer, whose work was inspired by his humble beginnings in Fresno as the son of immigrant Armenians. Saroyan lived in San Francisco, Paris, New York and elsewhere before returning to Fresno in the late 1960s, where he died in 1981. His first collection of short stories, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, published in 1934, was followed by The Man with the Heart in the Highlands, My Name is Aram, The Human Comedy and The Time of Your Life, which earned a Pulitzer Prize. The movie version of Saroyan’s The Human Comedy received an Oscar for Best Original Motion Picture Story.
For more information on upcoming Centennial events, please go to the website: