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:


Rita Chang-EppigRita Chang-Eppig received her MFA from NYU. Her stories have appeared in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Kenyon Review Online, Clarkesworld, Santa Monica Review, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Writers Grotto, and she is working on her first novel.


Tammy DelatorreTammy Delatorre has been recognized with numerous literary awards, including the Payton Prize, the Slippery Elm Prose Prize, CutBank’s Montana Prize for Nonfiction, and Columbia Journal Fall Contest Award. Her writing has appeared in Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, Vice, Hobart Online, Arts & Letters, Lunch Ticket, and The Nervous Breakdown. She obtained her MFA in creative writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and during the fellowship she’ll be working on a memoir.

Brice ParticelliBrice Particelli earned his Ph.D. in education from Columbia University. His nonfiction is in or forthcoming from Harper’s, Guernica, Salmagundi, and Fourth River, among others, and he is working on a narrative nonfiction book focused on educational (dis)information communities. His work can be found at www.briceparticelli.com.


Daniel PearceDaniel Pearce is a writer and musician living in San Francisco. He teaches at UC Santa Cruz and is at work on a novel about academic fraud and police misconduct.




Kate Osana SimonianKate Osana Simonian is an Armenian-Australian novelist, essayist, and short-story writer, whose work focuses on gender, sexuality, immigration, and identity. Since moving from Sydney to the US, she's completed an English PhD at Texas Tech and published work in the Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly, Shenandoah, Chicago Tribune, and Best Australian Stories. In the fall, she will be teaching at California State University San Bernardino and eagerly revising her debut novel, The Cry of the Narcissist. 

Anthony Veasna SoAnthony Veasna So is a queer Cambodian-American writer from Stockton, CA. He holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Syracuse University, where he received a University Fellowship, the Joyce Carol Oates Award in Fiction, and a P.D. Soros Fellowship. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, n+1, Granta, and ZYZZYVA, and his comics have appeared in Hobart and Nashville Review. He is at work on a novel about three Cambodian-American cousins—a rapper, a standup comedian, and an illustrator—and his story collection, Afterparties, is forthcoming from Ecco/HarperCollins in summer 2021. 


Other Steinbeck Fellow News:  

  • 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.