Library In Turkey to Be Named after William Saroyan

A view of the eastern Turkish town of Bitlis. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

BITLIS, Turkey (Armenpress)—A library in Bitlis (Armenian: Paghesh), Turkey, will be named after the prominent Armenian-American author William Saroyan, Agos weekly reports.

Journalist and author Ahmet Tuglar, who is authoring the project, noted that the idea of opening a library first came to mind when a decision was made in December of the previous year to name one of the streets in Bitlis, now a predominantly Kurdish town, after the Armenian-American author.

Saroyan was born in Fresno, California to Armenian immigrants from Bitlis, who escaped the Armenian Genocide. At the age of three, after his father’s death, Saroyan was placed in an orphanage in Oakland, together with his brother and sister, an experience he later described in his writings. Five years later, the family reunited in Fresno, where his mother, Takoohi, secured work at a cannery. He continued his education on his own, supporting himself by taking odd jobs, before becoming a successful writer.


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  1. Bedig Galladian said:

    Besides the fact that the man was never once able to even visit his ancestral homeland, what would make the government think that he would want this “honor?” Have they spoken to the estate? Actually, can you get a statement from the Saroyan estate?

  2. Gina-Marie Cheeseman said:

    Actually William Saroyan did travel to Bitlis, as Dickran Kouymjian, who was a professor at my alma mater Fresno State, wrote about in his biography of Saroyan. Here’s the sentence about it: “In 1964, Saroyan journeyed to his ancestral home with Bedros Zobian, editor of Marmara, an Armenian daily of Istanbul, and another friend.”

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