San Jose State University’s Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies will present the 2019 John Steinbeck Award to musical band Mumford & Sons Sept. 18, as part of the Stanford Live Program. The sold-out event will feature a conversation and acoustic performance by the band.
SJSU’s Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies presents the John Steinbeck Award annually, celebrating writers, thinkers, artists, and activists who embody the empathetic spirit and values of John Steinbeck. Mumford & Sons demonstrates this commitment to social engagement through Gentlemen of the Road, the fund they founded in 2006 that supports global and local charities fighting for social justice.
“Mumford & Sons can also be linked to John Steinbeck through their music, especially songs such as ‘Timshel,’ ‘Dust Bowl Dance,’ and ‘Rose of Sharon,’ and through their advocacy of Steinbeck’s writings,” said Ted Cady, chair of the Steinbeck Award committee.
In 2012, the band performed in the heart of Steinbeck Country at “Mumford & Sons in Monterey: A Salute to John Steinbeck.” Now, the band will again honor Steinbeck in a performance that marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of his novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Past awardees include notable musicians Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, and Joan Baez.
Proceeds from the event will benefit The Steinbeck Service Fellowship created by SJSU Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of the Marth Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies Nick Taylor and Stanford English professor Gavin Jones. The fellowship will allow students to participate in service projects across the region that embody Steinbeck’s work and continue his legacy for compassionate community engagement.
About SJSU’s Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies
In operation since 1973, the Cox Center promotes Steinbeck’s goals of empathy and mutual understanding through public programming, free curriculum for teachers, and fellowships for emerging writers.