Onward: A Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath
May 2 - 4, 2014
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 National Steinbeck Center will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath with the following programs:
• The Journey (October 4-14, 2013). The National Steinbeck Center will retrace the journey that The Grapes of Wrath’s Joad family took along America’s Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona at the height of the Dust Bowl—toward California and their hopes of a better life. The trip will be led by artists, writers, musicians and others who will be actively engaged in exploring the human experience of struggle and resilience—each charged with creating new work inspired by the journey. They will interview people along the route, create artistic explorations on these themes and broadcast them via social media, inviting creative multi-media responses from the public.
• National Outreach to Schools, Libraries and Museums (Fall 2013 – 2014). The National Steinbeck Center will facilitate a nation-wide push to promote The Grapes of Wrath in schools, libraries and museums. Leveraging the material and programming developed for The Journey, the National Steinbeck Center will offer a series of simple and easy to implement drop-in program ideas, pre-designed postcard and flier templates and a bibliography of online resources. This toolkit will be available for download on the NSC website and can be promoted by Penguin to their internal database of public libraries, high school and university libraries and bookstores as a resource to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath.
• Steinbeck Festival in Salinas and Monterey (May 2-4, 2014). The Steinbeck Festival is a three-day festival in Salinas and throughout Monterey County featuring talks, tours, films, food and the visual and performing arts. The Steinbeck Festival draws Steinbeck scholars, students and enthusiasts from all over the world to Monterey County to learn more about Salinas’ native son, John Steinbeck, and to celebrate his legacy. The 34th annual Steinbeck Festival will also showcase the 2013 Journey from Oklahoma to Weedpatch Camp, and will highlight the artists' work and oral histories collected along the route.
• The Steinbeck Festival International Fringe Fest (2014). Through partnerships with organizations in Cities of Letters around the world, Steinbeck Festival events have been held in cities such as Paris, Hanoi, Krakow, Berlin, Amsterdam, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Fes, Port-au-Prince, Guanajuato and other locales. The 2014 Fringe Fest will bring The Grapes of Wrath to an international audience.