2014 National Steinbeck Festival

Onward - Celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath

Penguin Truck Grapes Lo(1)


In the 1930s, John Steinbeck told the story of the millions of Americans suffering through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, giving voice to families and individuals who struggled every day to transcend devastating hardships. Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath put these stories on the national stage. Today we face many of the same challenges: great financial insecurity, unemployment, foreclosures and drastic environmental change. What are our sources of resilience? Who is giving voice to these stories now?

In 2014, the National Steinbeck Center will celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath by convening a national dialogue, seeking out the experiences of individual Americans today and bringing them into the light. Steinbeck told stories of the human capacity to overcome bleak circumstances. At the National Steinbeck Center, we work every day to continue this legacy and highlight the humanity in each of our stories.

The Journey

In October 2013, the National Steinbeck Center and a team of artists retraced the journey of the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath in preparation for the book's 75th anniversary. The group embarked on the journey along Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. They presented 26 programs and collected 75 oral histories. 

To learn more about the Journey, click here. 

Programs and Events

Our year-long festival programming schedule in 2014 includes:

February 20 – Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum, King City, CA
March 5 – Holy Names/Mills College/Saint Mary’s, Oakland, CA
April 5-6 – Asolo Theater, Sarasota, FL
April 24 – Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
April 25 - NPR Headquarters, Washington DC
May 2-4 – Steinbeck Festival, Salinas, CA
June 18 - UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive
October 16 – Autry Center for the American West, Los Angeles, CA
Fall 2014 – UC Merced/CSU Stanislaus, Modesto, CA
Fall 2014 – National Book Foundation, New York, NY
Fall 2014 – Ventura Museum, Ventura, CA

Educational Resources and Programs

The National Steinbeck Center has developed several educational programs designed for use by librarians, teachers, book clubs and community groups. These activities will help bring the Grapes of Wrath anniversary celebration into focus for your community.

To learn about our educational resources and programs, click here. 

Meet the Festival Artists