Application Information

Program Description

The Steinbeck Fellows Program, endowed through the generosity of Martha Heasley Cox, offers emerging writers of any age and background the opportunity to pursue a significant writing project during their fellowship tenure. The emphasis of the program is on helping writers who have had some success but have not published extensively, and whose promising work would be aided by the financial support and sponsorship of the Center and the University's creative writing program.

The Steinbeck Fellowship Program is named in honor of author John Steinbeck and is guided by his lifetime of work in literature, the media, and environmental activism. The program offers the opportunity to interact with other writers, faculty, and graduate students, and to share your work in progress by giving a public reading during the fellowship. Fellowships include a stipend of $15,000. Award recipients will be required to reside within the counties of the San Francisco Bay Area or adjacent counties of the California central coast or central valley during most of the fellowship period. The fellowship period is for one academic year (approximately September - May).


Fellowships Offered

Currently, SJSU offers one-year fellowships in Steinbeck scholarship and in creative writing, including fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, and biography. Applications in poetry will not be accepted. In awarding fellowships, the selection committee considers the quality of the candidate's proposal and writing sample, as well as any factors that would lead to expectations of future publication and further achievement. The creative writing fellowship does not require that there be any direct connection between your work and Steinbeck's.


Application Requirements

  • Proposal or prospectus for work to be written (one to three pages including basic timeline)
  • Resumé
  • Three letters of recommendation (sent directly from recommender—the online system will prompt you for their email addresses)
  • Writing sample of no more than twenty-five pages

Applications are accepted beginning in September.
Deadline: January 5
Announcement of Awards:

Apply to the Steinbeck Fellows Program

Best Practices for Applicants

  • Your writing sample may include excerpts from more than one project, however we encourage you to include a sample from the work you intend to pursue during the fellowship.
  • Extensive publication history isn’t necessary. However, the majority of our applicants have previously published in literary journals or other media.
  • Academic credentials are not required. Many fellows have completed advanced degrees, but admission is based on the merit of the writing sample and proposal or prospectus.
  • Manuscripts should follow standard formatting: double-spaced, 1” margins.
  • If you are not awarded a fellowship this year, please feel free to reapply.
  • Although we would like to offer feedback or notes on the manuscripts, we are unable to do so due to the volume of applications we receive.