News and Upcoming Events


2022 Steinbeck Award Recipient Jacqueline Woodson 

October 18 @ 7 pm PST
Student Union

Jacqueline Woodson flyer

Together with the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, the Center for Literary Arts is pleased to co-present the 2022 John Steinbeck "In the Souls of the People" Award. This year's honoree is acclaimed author Jacqueline Woodson, MacArthur "Genius" Fellow and author of Red at the Bone and Brown Girl Dreaming. During the event she will have an onstage conversation with Dr. Michele Elam, the William Robertson Coe Professor of Humanities in the English Department at Stanford University. The awards ceremony takes place on Tuesday, October 18th at 7PM in the Student Union Theater.

The John Steinbeck Award is given to writers, artists, thinkers, and activists whose work captures Steinbeck’s empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of people who by circumstance are pushed to the fringes. The phrase “in the souls of the people” comes from Chapter 25 of The Grapes of Wrath. This section of the book, and particularly this phrase, encapsulates the writer’s enduring legacy as an engaged and socially aware artist. Steinbeck wrote with unflinching honesty about people who were pitied and rejected by others. Americans were his people, regardless of their position in society.

Jacqueline Woodson is the recipient of a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, and she was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award, as well as the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, and the NAACP Image Award. She also wrote the adult books Red at the Bone, a New York Times bestseller, and Another Brooklyn, a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Her dozens of books for young readers include Coretta Scott King Award and NAACP Image Award winner Before the Ever After, New York Times bestsellers The Year We Learned to Fly, The Day You Begin, and Harbor Me, among many others.

This event is made possible thanks to the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs and SV Creates. For more information on how you can support the literary arts, please visit

International Steinbeck Conference

"John Steinbeck in the 21st Century: Reading, Teaching, Translating"
San José State University, March 22-24, 2023

Visit our dedicated conference page for more information!

Call for Papers
Even as John Steinbeck’s diverse body of work has played an essential role in identifying and interpreting the major issues of the past century, his narratives and insights remain radically relevant to our present moment, as communities across the world navigate unprecedented social, political, economic, medical, and ecological challenges. Since Steinbeck’s significance is best communicated to contemporary audiences through the practices of reading, teaching, and
translation, the 2023 conference will focus on how these forms of engagement help us better understand and share Steinbeck’s relevance to our contemporary world.

The International Steinbeck Society invites abstract proposals from varied disciplines and critical frameworks, including but not limited to literary/cultural studies, comparative literature, media studies, secondary and postsecondary education, psychology, political science, sociology, ecology, and marine biology. Potential topics include comparative studies of Steinbeck and post-
Steinbeck writers, issues in translating Steinbeck’s works into other languages, stage/film/video adaptations, and approaches to teaching Steinbeck in contemporary classrooms.

We are also pleased to invite undergraduate students to participate in a poster session focused on sharing their analysis of, and approaches to, the author’s works, context, and enduring relevance. Undergraduates who are interested in attending the conference are encouraged to speak with their professors about possibilities for funding that may be available through their university. Professors who are interested in integrating an assignment related to the conference into their classroom are encouraged to direct any questions about the poster session to

For traditional presentations, please email your abstract of up to 300 words, as well as a short bio (up to 200 words) to with the subject line “Steinbeck Conference 2023 Submission, [last name].” If you are interested in submitting a pre-constituted panel, workshop, or roundtable session, please note your panel title, format, and the names of your co-presenters in
your submission.

If you are interested in soliciting participants for a pre-constituted panel, workshop, or roudtable session, please send your topic and request to the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies @, with the subject line “Panel CFP Steinbeck Conference 2023.” We will then share your topic and call for participants with the Center’s mailing list.

Notices of acceptance to the conference will be sent out on a rolling basis in order to support scholars who are seeking funding from their home institution. And the final deadline for proposals is 11:59PM (midnight) on December 15, 2022.