The Steinbeck Fellows Program of San José State University was endowed through the generosity of Martha Heasley Cox. It offers writers of any age and background a $15,000 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.

Graduate Steinbeck Fellows

The Center also supports up to six exceptional incoming students in San José State's MFA/Creative Writing and MA/English programs with full in-state tuition for their first year of study. All applicants to the two programs are considered for these fellowships; there is no additional application. Read more about the Graduate Steinbeck Fellows.

Steinbeck / Gentlemen of the Road Service Fellowship

The Steinbeck / Gentlemen of the Road Service Fellowship brings together a cohort of students from Stanford University and San José State University to complete a summer of community service in Steinbeck Country. The Fellowship is funded by “Gentlemen of the Road,” the community engagement organization of the folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, from the proceeds of a concert the band played at Stanford University in September 2019 upon receiving the John Steinbeck Award. The Fellowship is open to students from any race, color, religion or creed, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital or domestic partner status, political affiliation, HIV or AIDS status, or disability. Fellows receive a stipend of $5,500, with an additional $2,200 possible depending on financial need.  Application instructions will be posted in early spring 2020.


This Year's Steinbeck Fellows:


Mushfig BabayevMushfig Babayev is an Azerbaijani scholar and translator living in the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in Philology/American Literature from Azerbaijan University of Languages. His publications include translations of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and The Winter of Our Discontent and numerous scholarly articles on Steinbeck and other authors. He plans to use his Steinbeck Fellowship to produce translations of two more Steinbeck works: The Pearl (Mirvari) and Tortilla Flat (Tortilla məhəlləsi).


Gabriela GarciaGabriela Garcia is a fiction writer and poet. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Tin House, Zyzzyva, Michigan Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly, and many other journals. She is the winner of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award and has received fellowships and residencies from Lighthouse Works, the Keller Estate, Sarabande Books, and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Gabriela received an MFA in fiction from Purdue University and is at work on a novel.


Meron HaderoMeron Hadero was born in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. in her childhood via East and West Germany. Her short stories have been published in Best American Short Stories, McSweeney’s, Zyzzyva, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, among others, and her writing also appears in The New York Times Book Review and the anthology The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. She's been a fellow at Yaddo, Ragdale, and The MacDowell Colony, and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, a JD from Yale Law School (Washington State
                             Bar), and an AB from Princeton in history with a certificate in American                                 studies.


Carrie R. MooreCarrie R. Moore is a Southern writer whose work examines African American ancestral histories and contemporary experiences. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Stanford University, she has published her fiction in The Normal School and received the Erica Landis Memorial and Tennessee Williams Scholarships. She is currently at work on a short story collection and novel.



Shabnam NadiyaShabnam Nadiya is a Bangladeshi writer and translator, based in California. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her work has been published in Joyland, Asymptote, Flash Fiction International, Al Jazeera Online,Pank, Amazon’s Day One, Chicago Quarterly Review,  Wasafiri, Words Without Borders, and Gulf Coast. She has also translated Moinul Ahsan Saber’s novel The Mercenary (Bengal Lights Books, 2016; Seagull Books, 2018); and Shaheen Akhtar's novel Beloved Rongomala (Bengal Lights Books, 2018; Seagull Books, 2019).

Laura A. ZinkLaura A. Zink lives in Oakland, teaches fiction writing at Berkeley City College, and was an organizer for the Beast Crawl Literary Festival. She earned her MFA at St. Mary’s College of California and her MA in English at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her fiction has appeared in Broad River Review, Full of Crow, sPARKLE & bLINK, Naked Bulb 2016 Summer Anthology, Literally Stories, FICTION on the WEB, and The East Bay Review.


Other Steinbeck Fellow News:  

  • August 2018: 2013-2014 Fellow Vanessa Hua published the novel River of Stars (Ballantine).
  • July 2018: 2014-2015 Fellow R.O. Kwon published the novel The Incendiaries (Riverhead).
  • Spring 2018: 2009-2010 Fellow Andrew Milward received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • March 2018: 2011-2012 Fellow Kirstin Chen published the novel Bury What We Cannot Take (Little A).
  • February 2018: 2013-2014 Fellow Dallas Woodburn published a collection of short stories, Woman, Running Late in a Dress (Yellow Flag Press)
  • February 2018: 2008-2009 Fellow Jasmin Darznik published the novel Song of a Captive Bird (Ballantine).
  • Fall 2017: 2017-2018 Fellow Dominica Phetteplace received a Writers' Award from the  Rona Jaffe Foundation.
  • Spring 2016: 2014-2015 Fellow R.O. Kwon received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • 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.