William Saroyan

1908 (Fresno, Calif.) – 1981 (Fresno)

A widely-underrated author. George Bernard Shaw, who’d met Saroyan, sent a letter of literary encouragement. Artie Shaw introduced Saroyan to his teenage future wife, while Steinbeck offered to pull strings to keep him out of WWII (an offer declined). Hemingway was an acquaintance, though rather dismissive of Saroyan’s talent, and Miller a friend and correspondent, as was Saroyan’s translator Queneau. Passing through Finland on his way back from Russia to America, Saroyan called unannounced on Sibelius, and wrote about it. Chaplin gave a speech on the occasion of his remarriage to the same woman (their wives had been schoolfriends).

William Saroyan knew…