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William Saroyan

“I am the smaller Bitlisian, and he is the bigger one.” - Papayan


“Optimistic, healthy laughter enthuses me. It seems to have been infused into my blood as ‘historical memory’ from my Bitlisian ancestors, described by Saroyan as ‘Uncle Arams;’ strong, life-loving, happy, ingenious type of men who gave hard lives a festive air and magical mood.” - Papayan


“Every time he came to Armenia, he would call me immediately, and we would meet.” - Papayan for Aravot newspaper.

My New Channel


"In the photo on the left is my father, poet Hrachya, who had been close to him [Saroyan] for many years. Deeper in the shot is the playwright Aramashot Papayan, who was from Bitlis. Saroyan loved him very much and would inundate him with questions." - Tamar Hovhannisyan while discussing a 1976 photo of Hrachya Hovhannisyan, Aramashot Papayan, William Saroyan and Artashes Hunanyan.



Papayan and Saroyan met in 1960 during one of Saroyan's many visits to Armenia. Their immediate bond set their friendship apart. That bond was their native familial home of Bitlis. Not only were their family histories rooted in Bitlis, but they later discovered that their parents were likely close neighbors, too. Saroyan would refer to Papayan’s mother, Grap, as a native Bitlisian elder. 

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