The bearer of this non-Armenian name with an Armenian last name
was born in 1908 in Fresno, California, to a poor family of Armenian
immigrants. He started as a postman, and neither he, nor his parents
could have ever imagined that there will be a day, when this name
will be mentioned among the American writers such as Hemingway,
Steinbeck, Faulkner, and Caldwell.
And we, Armenians, did not even supect, that somewhere across the
ocean there is a man who will later become an integral part and
the pride of our nation. Since his first short story published in
1933 in the Armenian-American weekly Hairenik (“Motherland”)
of Boston and until his last breath he stayed strongly attached
to Armenia and the Armenian theme. William Saroyan wrote more than
1,500 short stories, 12 plays, and 10 novels. One of his best works,
the novel “The Human Comedy,” is partially autobiographical,
and titles of his works speak for themselves: “My Heart's
in the Highlands” “Andranik From Armenia,” “Bitlis,”
“Armenia and Charents,” “The Armenian and the
Saroyan visited Armenia four times, in 1935, 1960, 1976 and 1978,
and even saw his play “My Heart’s in the Highlands”
in Yerevan theatre after G. Sundukyan staged by Vardan Adjemyan.
The writer was deeply moved by the play, the music for which was
written by Arno Babadjanyan.
“Although I write in English, and despite the fact that I’m
from America, I consider myself an Armenian writer. The words I
use are in English, the surroundings I write about are American,
but the soul, which makes me write, is Armenian. This means I am
an Armenian writer and deeply love the honor of being a part of
the family of Armenian wrtiters,” said Saroyan of himself,
and there are no better words to describe him, but his own.
When Saroyan died in 1981 he was buried in Fresno – his native
town; but according to his will, a part of his heart was buried
in far-away Armenia, at the feet of Ararat, not far from lake Van
and town of Bitlis – the homeland of his parents.
Now a part of Willam Saroyan’s heart rests in peace among
other notable Armenians in the Pantheon of Greats in Yerevan.