The John Steinbeck Award

When I closed The Grapes of Wrath, I was a different man.

Nelson Mandela


The Award

The John Steinbeck Award is given to writers, artists, thinkers, and activists whose work captures Steinbeck’s empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of people who by circumstance are pushed to the fringes. 


Your contributions to the world of literature will be an inspiration to generations yet unborn. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.
In a letter to John Steinbeck


First presented in 1996, the John Steinbeck Award is sponsored by the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies and Catherine Busalacchi, Executive Director of Student Union, Inc. Ted Cady, the chair of the Center’s award selection committee and Event Director for the Student Union, has organized all of the Award presentations and has brought each of the honorees to appreciate the Award’s meaning and the importance of Steinbeck’s legacy here at San José State.


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The Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies
Room 590, Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University, San José, CA 95192-0202