75th Anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath

Dust Bowl

When it was published in 1939, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath earned him the Pulitzer Prize. This spring on the 75th anniversary of the novel’s debut, San José State will come to life with celebrations to honor Steinbeck’s masterpiece, a work seminal to the history of California and the region during the Great Depression, as the novel traces the path of the Joad family’s search for a better life. One of SJSU’s main attractions will be a stage production at the University Theatre featuring Frank Galati’s adaptation. The April 16 performance will offer a talkback by Steinbeck scholar Professor Susan Shillinglaw discussing her new book On Reading The Grapes of Wrath, and a reception in the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies in King Library. An exhibit of 15 colorful book jackets selected from foreign editions of The Grapes of Wrath are on display at the Center—one-of-a-kind items destined for the Center’s extensive archive of The Grapes of Wrath manuscripts and memorabilia. Also on April 16, the SJSU Campus Reading Program is sponsoring a readathon, where they will read the entire novel aloud. The triumphant finale of our tribute will be a production of Ricky Ian Gordons’ opera based on the Steinbeck classic. Performances are held in the University Theatre May 9 and 11. (Ticket information.)