Fellows

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.

This Year's Steinbeck Fellows:

Ariel Chu

Ariel Chu is a Taiwanese American writer from Eastvale, California and an incoming first-year student in USC's Creative Writing and Literature PhD program. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Syracuse University, where she received the Shirley Jackson Prize in Fiction. A former Editor-in-Chief of Salt Hill Journal, a 2019 P.D. Soros Fellow, and a 2020 Luce Scholar in Taipei, Ariel has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Best Small Fictions Anthology, and the Best of the Net Award. Her writing can be found in The Common, The Masters Review, and Sonora Review, among others. Ariel is currently working on a short story collection and novel.

Rose Himber HowseRose Himber Howse is a queer writer from North Carolina and a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as fiction editor of The Greensboro Review. Rose’s fiction and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Joyland, The Carolina Quarterly, Hobart, YES! Magazine, Sonora Review, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies at the Millay Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Monson Arts. 

Tammy Heejae Lee

Tammy Heejae Lee is a Korean-American writer from Davis, CA. She holds a BA from UC Davis and an MFA in fiction from the University of San Francisco, where she received a post-graduate teaching fellowship. A Tin House Summer Workshop and VONA/Voices alum, her writing has appeared in The Offing, PANK, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Split Lip Magazine. She is currently at work on her first novel about expat and hagwon culture in Seoul. 


Uche OkonkwoUche Okonkwo has an MFA in fiction from Virginia Tech and a master’s in creative writing from University of Manchester, UK. Her stories have been published or are forthcoming in One Story, Ploughshares, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, A Public Space, Lagos Noir, Per Contra, and Ellipsis. She was a 2019 Bernard O’Keefe Scholar at Bread Loaf, and a 2017 resident at Writers Omi. She is the recipient of the 2020-2021 George Bennett Fellowship at Phillips Exeter Academy—a fellowship established to provide time and freedom from material considerations to a selected writer each year. She is working on her first short story collection. (Photo: Rohan Kamicheril)

Timea Sipos

Timea Sipos is a Hungarian American writer, poet, and translator with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her writing and translations appear in Prairie Schooner, Passages North, Juked, The Offing, Denver Quarterly, The Bisexual Poetry Anthology, and elsewhere. She is a proud 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee, a PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize nominee, a Miami Book Fair Emerging Writers Fellowship Honorable Mention, and a Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award finalist. Her work has received support from the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, Tin House, the American Literary Translators Association, the Hungarian Translators’ House, the Black Mountain Institute, and the Nevada Arts Council, among others. During her fellowship year, she will be finishing her short story collection and making headway on her novel. (Photo: Cris Kith)

Brian TrappBrian Trapp is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He has published work in the Kenyon Review, Longreads, Gettysburg Review, Narrative, Brevity, and Ninth Letter, among other places. He won an Oregon Arts Fellowship and had an essay selected as the #1 Longread of the Week by Longreads.com. He received his PhD in Comparative Literature and Disability Studies from the University of Cincinnati, where he was an associate editor of the Cincinnati Review. He now teaches at the University of Oregon. He will be at work on a memoir about his twin brother, Danny, who had cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities and was also very funny. (Photo: Marjorie Celona)

  

Other Steinbeck Fellow News:

  • August 2021: 2020-2021 Fellow Meron Hadero's short story "The Street Sweep," originally published in Zyzzyva, won the 2021 AKO Caine Prize.
  • August 2021: 2020-2021 Fellow Anthony Veasna So's short story collection afterparties (Ecco) was posthumously published.
  • March 2021: 2019-2020 Fellow Gabriela Garcia published the novel Of Women and Salt (Flat Iron Books). 
  • 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.