Martha Heasley Cox Recieving Tower Award

Martha Heasley Cox receiving San José State University's "Tower Award" from President Robert Caret in 2006 for her generosity in supporting many causes, including the Steinbeck Fellows Program.

The Steinbeck Fellows Program of San José State University was endowed through the generosity of Martha Heasley Cox. It offers new writers of any age and background a $10,000 fellowship to finish a significant writing project. Named in honor of author John Steinbeck, the program is guided by his lifetime of work in literature, the media, and environmental activism.

Fellowships are currently offered in Creative Writing (excluding poetry) and Steinbeck Studies. Fellows may be appointed in many fields, including literary scholarship, fiction, drama, education, science and the media.

While in residence in the San José area, Fellows are afforded office space and, when needed, housing assistance through the Center for Steinbeck Studies and the Department of English and Comparative Literature. Application Information.

This Year's Steinbeck Fellows:

Dinika AmaralDinika Amaral was born and raised in Bombay, India. A former banker with JP Morgan Chase, she has an M.A. and M.F.A. from New York University. Having completed The Flame of the Forest short story collection and novella, she will spend her fellowship year revising her novel -- The Devil’s Bathtub.




Caitlin Kindervatter-ClarkCaitlin Kindervatter-Clark has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Poe/Faulkner fellow. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Washington Post, Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She teaches at UC Berkeley Extension and lives in San Francisco, where she is at work on a story collection and a novel. Read more at KinderClark.com.


Sunisa ManningSunisa Manning is from Bangkok, and currently lives in Berkeley California. She’s writing a novel set in 1970s Thailand about student radicals.




Dominica PhetteplaceDominica Phetteplace writes literary and science fiction. Her work has appeared in Asimov’s, F&SF, Clarkesworld, PANK, and The Los Angeles Review.  She has won a Barbara Deming Award, a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and I-Park. She plans to complete a short story collection on the future of work.



C. Kevin SmithC. Kevin Smith is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow. His writing has won awards from the Templeton Foundation, the Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation and the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts. He is currently the University of Iowa Provost’s Visiting Writer in Fiction.



Shruti SwamyShruti Swamy was Vassar College's 50th W.K. Rose Fellow, and has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Hedgebrook, and Blue Mountain Center. Her work has appeared in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2016, Agni, the Kenyon Review Online, Boston Review, and elsewhere. She is also a Kundiman fiction fellow.  



Other Steinbeck Fellow News:  

  • July 2015: 2013-2014 Fellow Vanessa Hua's collection of short stories, The Responsibility of Deceit, will be published by Willow Books. Vanessa also won the San Francisco Foundation's 2014 James D. Phelan Award for the manuscript Loaves and Fishes. Read an interview with Vanessa about the award
  • April 2015: 2007-2008 Fellow Peter Nathaniel Malae has been awarded a 2015 Oregon Literary Fellowship in drama, on the strength of his new play The Question
  • December 2013: 2005-2006 Fellow Sarah Houghteling received a 2014 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • 2001-2002 Fellow Katie Rodger published Renaissance Man of Cannery Row: The Life and Letters of Edward F. Ricketts (2002) and Breaking Through: Essays, Journals, and Travelogues of Edward F. Ricketts (2006).
  • 2002-2003 Fellow Robert F. James is finishing the Outdoor Life Magazine Survival Manual (sched. 2012). He is Project Editor for this and for another book for Field & Stream magazine coming out in 2013.
  • 2002-2003 Fellow Greta Manville's work on updating, researching, and compiling an online searchable bibliography of secondary literature on John Steinbeck was completed in 2007, resulting in a unique resource for an American author:
  • 2004-2005 Fellow Diana Spechler, published Who By Fire (Harper Perennial 2008) and Skinny, (Harper Perennial 2011).
  • 2007-2008 Fellow Dan White, published The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind--And Almost Found Myself--On the Pacific Trail (Harper Perennial 2008).
  • 2005-2006 Fellow Sara Houghteling, published Pictures at an Exhibition (Knopf, 2009), reviewed in the New York Times. On April 15, 2010, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford presented Houghteling with the 2009 Edward Lewis Wallant Award for her novel. Other Wallant Award winners include Cynthia Ozick, Curt Leviant, Chaim Potok and Myla Goldberg.
  • 2006-2007 Fellow Charles McLeod was selected to receive a 2009 Pushcart Prize and his story "National Treasures" has been selected to appear in the anthology Fraudulent Artifacts (Norton 2012). Random House UK published his novel, American Weather (2011).
  • 2007-2008 Fellow Lysley Tenorio received a 2008 Whiting Award, a $50,000 cash prize announced November 2008 at a ceremony at The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.  Tenorio was also selected to appear in the 2010 edition of Best New American Voices.
  • 2007-2008 Fellow Peter Nathaniel Malae published in 2007 a notable book story collection Teach the Free Man, and a novel What We Are (Grove 2010), as well as Nine True Love Stories (scheduled 2011 with Grove). What We Are was reviewed in the New York Times.  Malae gave a public reading at SJSU on April 21, 2010.
  • 2008-2009 Fellow Jasmin Darznik has published with Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books) The Good Daughter, her memoir of Iran, (2010), reviewed in the New York Times.
  • 2009-2010 Fellow Katie Chase was selected to receive a 2009 Pushcart Prize.
  • 2009-2010 Fellow Skip Horack’s short story collection, The Southern Cross, won the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference 2008 Bakeless Fiction Prize and was published by Mariner Books in August 2009. His second novel is The Eden Hunter (2010).
  • 2009-2010 Fellow Andrew Milward was selected to appear in the 2010 edition of Best New American Voices.