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

A.J. BermudezA.J. Bermudez is the author of Stories No One Hopes Are About Them, Winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award and current Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s, Chicago Quarterly Review, Story, Boulevard, Creative Nonfiction, Electric Literature, The Masters Review, Columbia Journal, Chicago Review, The Offing, Baltimore Review, Epiphany, LitHub, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the Diverse Voices Award, the PAGE Award, and the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. She currently serves as Editor of The Maine Review. Her work gravitates toward contemporary explorations of power, privilege, and place. 

Francisco GonzalezFrancisco González is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His fiction appears in Gulf Coast, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from Columbia University.

Alexia NaderAlexia Nader is a writer based in San Francisco. Her fiction has been published in Your Impossible Voice, her poetry in Obsidian, and her criticism in Los Angeles Review of Books, The Nation, and Guernica, among other outlets. She received her MA in Journalism from New York University, where she was a Dean's Fellow, and her MFA in Fiction from the University of San Francisco, where she held a post-graduate teaching fellowship. She is currently working on her first novel. 

Itto and Mekiya OutiniItto Outini is a Fulbright Scholar, journalist, writer, Steinbeck Fellow (2023-4), MacDowell Fellow (2024), public speaker, and founder of Fulbrighters with Disabilities, a chapter of the Fulbright Association. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Fulbright Chronicle, ABILITY Magazine, and elsewhere, and her story has been featured by outlets such as BBC Outlook. Organizations for whom she’s spoken include Cal Tech University, The United Nations, Verizon Wireless, and The International Trade Centre. Itto received the Steinbeck Fellowship to finalize her memoir, Blindness is the Light of My Life, which recounts her harrowing journey from rural Morocco, where she was blinded by a family member at the age of 17, to the heights of educational attainment and the halls of global power. She holds an MA in journalism and strategic media from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Itto’s husband and co-author, Mekiya Outini, is also a MacDowell Fellow (2024) and holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Arkansas. His short story “Baptism by Earth” won the 55th New Millennium Award in Fiction, and his work has appeared in Chautauqua, The Coachella Review, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. The first two chapters of his novel, Ashes, Ashes, have been featured in the West Trade Review.

Itto and Mekiya Outini are the founding editors of The DateKeepers, an international media platform dedicated to telling untold stories and spotlighting well-lived lives. To learn more about the Outinis and their work, visit their website at

Amanda RizkallaAmanda Rizkalla is a writer from Los Angeles, California. Her work appears in Boston Review, No Tokens Journal, and The Fabulist, among several other publications. A graduate of Stanford University, she has received fellowships and support from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and Blue Mountain Center. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was selected as a finalist for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and the Outpost Residency. She received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded the Kemper K. Knapp Graduate Fellowship. 

Xueyou WangXueyou Wang is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. Her work focuses on immigrant women's experiences and transnational, transcultural stories. She is particularly interested in the intersection between Asian diaspora and Latin American cultures. Born in China and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Xueyou graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and a Master of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her work has appeared in Discover Nikkei and is forthcoming in The Margins. She is working on a collection of short stories. 


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