John Steinbeck Award

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The John Steinbeck Award: "In The Souls of the People", is an annual award given to an individual that has contributed to society in the spirit of John Steinbeck. The award is given to artists who capture "the spirit of Steinbeck's empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of the common man."[1] The award was presented each year by Steinbecks' eldest son, Thomas, in collaboration with the John Steinbeck Family Foundation, San Jose State University, and The National Steinbeck Center.

Steinbeck's legacy[edit]

The phrase "in the souls of the people" comes from Chapter 25 of The Grapes of Wrath and captures the writer's enduring legacy as an engaged and socially aware artist. From the 1930s on Steinbeck wrote about "the people," his heart open to the longing, loneliness, despair and triumph of those on the edges. Americans were his people, and his last book, America and Americans (1966) expresses his enduring love for a democratic nation. Thomas Steinbeck wrote that the awardee is a "planetary patriot," which means, a person who, in keeping with Maurice Steinbeck's understanding of the highest aspirations of an artist, "stands up against the stones of condemnation, and speaks for those who are given no real voice in the halls of justice, or the halls of government. By doing so these people will naturally become the enemies of the political status quo."[2]

Past recipients[edit]


  1. ^ San Jose State University, Press Release, "Garrison Keillor to Receive 2007 John Steinbeck Award," 2007 Sept. 10,[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Huffington Post, 2010 Sept. 27, "John Steinbeck, Michael Moore, and the Burgeoning Role of Planetary Patriotism,"
  3. ^ "Steinbeck Center". San José State University. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  4. ^ "Ken Burns to Receive Steinbeck Award". San José State University. 2013-08-27. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  5. ^ Peters, Madeline (2012-02-29). "Watch Rachel Maddow accept the John Steinbeck Award". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  6. ^ "John Mellencamp To Receive John Steinbeck Award In San Jose". CBS San Francisco. 2012-06-06. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  7. ^ "Filmmaker Michael Moore To Receive The John Steinbeck Award". Archived from the original on 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2012-06-30.

External links[edit]