Steinbeck Fellowship

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. 

Find more Application Information before you apply.

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. Visit our Graduate Steinbeck Fellows page to learn more.

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.

This Year's Steinbeck Fellows

Thea ChacamatyThea Chacamaty earned her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was also a 2019-2020 Postgraduate Zell Fellow. She has been awarded fellowships to Yaddo and In Cahoots, as well as the Henfield Prize, a Hopwood Award, the Kasdan Scholarship, and Michigan Quarterly Review's 2024 Lawrence Foundation Prize. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Missouri Review, and others. She lives in the Bay Area with her family, where she is at work on a short story collection and a novel.

Chino Lee ChungChino Lee Chung is a queer Chinese Mexican personal essay writer, grassroots activist, and is currently working on a collection of essays that integrate his social activism with his intersectional identities. He holds an MFA from the California College of Arts and will graduate with another MFA degree from San Francisco State University next semester. His work appears in Gender Queer: voices from beyond the sexual binary, Our Family Coalition Newsletter, and is an Assistant Fiction Editor at 14 Hills Literary Magazine.

Joe DornichJoe Dornich is the author of the short story collection, The Ways We Get By. His stories have won contests and fellowships from The Master’s Review, Carve Magazine, South Central MLA, Key West Literary Seminars, and The South Carolina Academy of Authors, among others. Joe lives in California and teaches at Cal State University San Bernardino.


Abdelrahman ElGendy

Abdelrahman ElGendy is an Egyptian writer, translator, and activist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a former six-year political prisoner in Egypt who writes about counter-narratives, state-manufactured archival silences, and abolishing empathy as an extension of colonial violence. ElGendy's writing appears in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Guernica, AGNI, Mizna, The Markaz Review, Truthout, Mada Masr, and elsewhere. He is a 2022 Dietrich fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Nonfiction Writing MFA, and a Heinz fellow at Pitt's Global Studies Center. His work has received awards or fellowships from the Logan Nonfiction Program, Tin House Workshop, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Community of Writers Workshop. He is the winner of the 2024 Courage to Write award by the de Groot Foundation, the 2024 Turow-Kinder Award in Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2021 and 2023 Margolis Award for Social Justice Journalism.

Desiree EvansDesiree S. Evans is a writer, scholar, and activist from South Louisiana. Her work often grapples with Black life in the rural South. She holds an MFA in fiction from the Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin. Her writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and has appeared in literary journals such as Gulf Coast, The Offing, Nimrod Journal, and other venues. Her work has received support from the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA/Voices), Kimbilio Fiction, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, the National
Endowment for the Humanities, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and We Need Diverse Books. She was the 2021-2022 Gulf South Writer in the Woods, awarded through Tulane University, and the 2022-2023 Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters Writer-in- Residence, awarded through the Hub City Writers Project. She is an incoming 2024-2025 Steinbeck Fellow, awarded through the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University.

Emily YangEmily Yang/楊佳諭 writes about how structures of power and their attendant cultural scripts confine people’s imaginative capacity to care for one another. Raised in Taipei, Taiwan, they believe in the need to write against the logics of empire and capital toward the horizon of collective liberation and a more just, decolonial future. Their work can be found in venues such as Black Warrior Review, the Margins, Foglifter, Passages North, and Puerto del Sol, where they won the 2020 Prose Contest. She is currently working on a mythospeculative novel about a shapeshifting fox-spirit and revising a short story collection. You can find her at

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