Steinbeck Festival

Loading Eventstribe-events/single-event.php

« All Events

Steinbeck Festival

June 14 - June 15

The annual Steinbeck Festival is a literary celebration of John Steinbeck’s enduring legacy. The Steinbeck Festival has taken place for the last 38 years in and around SalinasThe Festival is open to the public and intended to instruct, entertain, and connect like-minded Steinbeck lovers.

Each year the Festival explores a new theme relating to the life and works of Salinas native, John Steinbeck. It will be announced at the beginning of 2019. The 2019 Festival will be held on June 14th & 15th, 2019.

Here is a sampling of events and programming from May 2018’s festival:

History Slam!

Free Film Series: “Women In Film”

Day 1


Steinbeck In Pacific Grove




Ricketts’s Lab Tours





Street of the Sardine







Festival Seminar Talks 

Richard Astro | Provost Emeritus, Drexel University, and Edward F. Ricketts biographer, “Toni: A Remarkable Woman in a Remarkable Time: The Steinbeck-Ricketts Chronicle”

Steve Palumbi | Professor of Biology, Stanford University, “The Women Who Rebuilt Monterey Bay”

Stuart Chase | Executive Director, Monterey Museum of Art, “Year of the Woman, 2018”

Gavin Jones | Professor of English, Stanford University, “Fiction in the Lab: Steinbeck’s ‘The Snake’ and the Short Story Tradition”

Dixie Dixon | Dorothea Lange’s daughter-in-law to son Daniel of 15 years, “Universal Language: Dorothea Lange, Photographer”

Susan Shillinglaw | Professor of English, San Jose State University and Director of the National Steinbeck Center, “Wit and Whimsy: Steinbeck’s Three Wives”



Photo Credit: Michael Short, The Chronicle

Ricketts Lab Reception: Trumpet Tribute to Ed Ricketts Jr. (1923-2018)






Cannery Row Banquet



Day 2


Olive Steinbeck’s World






Archive Exploration




Kate’s Walk: Tour of Downtown Salinas




Festival Seminar Talks 

Susan Shillinglaw | National Steinbeck Center Director, “Steinbeck’s Sisters”

Mimi Gladstein | Professor of English at University of Texas,  El Paso, and author of The Indestructible Woman in Faulkner, Hemingway and Steinbeck, “Maiden, mother, crone: Steinbeck’s Tripartite Female”

Devon Angus & Ivy Anderson | Editors of Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute, “Life on the Line: The Myth and Reality of Sex Work in Early 20th Century California”

Brian Duchaney | PhD candidate, “Two can play at that game…”: Steinbeck’s Wartime Women and the Creation of the Literary Mistress”

Speaker TBA  | From Asian Cultural Experience (ACE) “Asian Women Working in Salinas”

Anthony Newfield | New York actor, “Curley’s Wife Sings: The background of the musical version of Of Mice and Men


Steinbeck’s Home Brew Fest





Taco Lunch





Olive Steinbeck’s House: The Wanderers Club







Of Mice and Men, Musical Drama





Day 3


Red Pony Ranch Tour 







Pizza Lunch




Festival Seminar Talks

Graciela Serna-Nutter, Linda Bynoe, & Jennifer Colby | Storytellers &
Partners for the Advancement of Teaching
“Telling Women’s Stories: Ascension Solorsano, Toypurina, and The Pearl’s Juana”  (Teaching “The Pearl” curriculum project is funded by a grant from the Arts Council for Monterey County)

Rose Marie Beebe & Robert M. Senkewicz | Professors of Spanish Literature and of History, Santa Clara University
“Testimonios: Early California through the Eyes of Women, 1815-1848″

Janet Whitchurch |  Artist & Author
Opening reception of local artist Janet Whitchurch’s exhibit featuring a selection of Salinas River paintings. At the reception, Whitchurch will also be meeting guests and signing her new book, The Salinas River: Running North &  Underground



Festival Seminar Workshops 

“Mujeres Campesinas y Huelgistas” (Female Fieldworkers & Strike Organizers)| Ignacio Ornelas Rodriguez, Ph.D.

UC Berkeley visiting scholar researching the Bracero Program and its legacies while also examining the second-generation of Mexican and Mexican Americans who advocated for civil and voting rights in the Monterey Bay Area and communities across California. He is currently working on the publication of his manuscript titled The Struggle for Social Justice in the Monterey Bay Area 1930-2000:The Transformation of Mexican and Mexican American Political Activism.


“Girl Power: Women in Tech” |  Digital Nest

Digital NEST is proud to host a conference for Girls Who Code clubs in the Tri-County area. Our panel of female leaders will share their experiences with the goal to inspire today’s young females to pursue careers in tech.

Digital NEST is a career development non-profit that focuses on helping Latinos in communities that have been left out – or locked out – of the digital economy to secure a prosperous place in that digital economy.

Ticket Information

Check back next spring for more information!

Lodging and Directions

Check back next spring for more information!

Directions & Parking

Check back next spring for more information!


The Steinbeck Festival is generously supported by the following sponsors: