Steinbeck Festival

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Steinbeck Festival

May 4 - May 6

The annual Steinbeck Festival is a three-day celebration of John Steinbeck’s enduring legacy. The 2018 Steinbeck Festival will take place May 4-6 and the theme will be “The Women of Steinbeck’s World.

Click here for Festival tickets. Save with a three-day pass: $90

The 2018 Steinbeck Festival celebrates the women Steinbeck created, those he knew, and those who influenced mid-century American culture. Ma Joad inspired this theme. Late in The Grapes of Wrath, Ma consoles Pa, who feels defeated by their losses: “Man, he lives in jerks-baby born an’ a man dies, an’ that’s a jerk-gets a farm an’ loses his farm, an’ that’s a jerk. Woman, it’s all one flow, like a stream, little eddies, little waterfalls, but the river, it goes right on. Woman looks at it like that. We ain’t gonna die out. People is goin’ on-changin’ a little, maybe, but goin’ right on.”

May 4-6:
Festival Weekend

Preliminary Schedule


Friday 1-day ticket includes: Hopkins Marine Station talks, film, + Ricketts’ Lab Reception. Includes admission to NSC on Friday | $30 (tours are extra)

Steinbeck Home Tour | Pacific Grove | 9:00-11:00 am | $30
Join us for a tour of Steinbeck’s 11th St. cottage and other sites. Meet at Rec Trail, 11th St. and Ocean View Ave.

Ricketts Lab Tours | Cannery Row | 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 | $20

Street of the Sardine Film | Cannery Row | Time TBD | Free with general admission ticket
A documentary by Eva Lothar on Cannery Row in the 1970s.

Festival Seminar Talks | Hopkins Marine Station Boat Works | 1:00-5:00 pm | $30

Richard Astro |  Author of John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts, “Toni: A Remarkable Woman in a Remarkable Time: The Steinbeck-Ricketts Chronicle” 

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

Steve Palumbi | Professor of Biology, Hopkins Marine Station, “The Women Who Rebuilt Monterey Bay”

Dr. Susan Shillinglaw | Professor of English at San Jose State and Director of the National Steinbeck Center, “Steinbeck’s Wives”

Katie Rodger, Don Cohrs, Susan Shillinglaw | “About Ed Ricketts Jr, 1923-2018”

Lab Reception & Trumpet Tribute to Ed Ricketts Jr. | Ricketts’s Lab | 5:00-6:30 | $20
A wining jug and beer milkshakes

Cannery Row Banquet | Intercontinental The Clement, Monterey | 7:00-9:30 pm | $150 single,  $1250 table for 10
Speaker TBA


Saturday 1-day ticket includes: NSC talks, continental breakfast + Western Stage performance. Includes admission to NSC on Saturday | $30 (beer, & tours are extra)

“Olive’s World” Tour | First Mayor’s House, Salinas | 9:00, 12:00 | $10
Tour focuses on Steinbeck’s mother, Olive Steinbeck, and her friends. Meet at NSC.

Steinbeck’s Home Brew Fest Patio Pass | NSC back patio | 12:00-3:00 | $15
With a “Patio Pass” you can taste brews in the beer garden on the back patio

Taco Lunch | National Steinbeck Center | 12:00 | $10

Kate’s Walk Main Street Tour | Main Street, Salinas | 1:00 | $10
Walk down the same street that Kate did in East of Eden. Learn about Salinas’ rich literary history on this walking tour. Meet at NSC.

Festival Seminar Talks | National Steinbeck Center | 9:30-5:00 | $30

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

Mimi Gladstein | Professor of English at University of Texas, El Paso, “Maiden, mother, crone: Steinbeck’s Tripartite Female.” 

Dr. Susan Shillinglaw |  NSC Director, “Steinbeck’s Sisters” 

William Souder | Author of forthcoming Steinbeck biography, “Steinbeck’s Literary Agents, Elizabeth Otis and Annie Laurie Williams.” 

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

Saturday night:

The Western Stage West Coast Premiere | Hartnell College | 7:30 | Free general seating
A staged reading of Ira Bilowit’s 1958 musical of Of Mice and Men, directed by Jon Selover, Western Stage


The Sunday 1-Day Ticket includes: Sunday workshops, continental breakfast. Includes admission to NSC on Sunday | $30 (tours & pizza are extra)

Red Pony Ranch and Monterey Tours | 10:00-12:00 | $50

Pizza Lunch | National Steinbeck Center | 12:30 | Price TBD

Festival Workshops | National Steinbeck Center | 1:00-5:00

Girl Power Workshop | Digital Nest from the Salinas Public Library

Teaching The Pearl | Jennifer Colby, CSUMB and Linda Boyne

Educators’ Curriculum Swap | More information to follow

Panel on The Western Flyer curriculum | More information to follow

Meet the Artist | Janet Whitchurch | Book launch & exhibit opening reception.
Her new book is titled Underground and Running North, featuring her Salinas River paintings on exhibit in the National Steinbeck Center.

The 3-Day Festival Ticket includes Friday, Saturday, Sunday talks + Friday Lab Reception + Sat/Sunday continental breakfasts + Saturday taco lunch + Sunday reception. Includes admission to the NSC museum for weekend | Monterey & Salinas | May 4-6 | All Day | $90

If you have questions, please email Susan Shillinglaw,