Benefit Events

The John Steinbeck Award - "In the Souls of the People" - is given annually to writers, artists, thinkers, and activists whose work captures the spirit of Steinbeck's empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of all people.

John Mellencamp accepting the Steinbeck Award in 2012

John Mellencamp accepting the Steinbeck Award in 2012


Several awardees have generously participated in benefit events for the Center for Steinbeck Studies:

  • Bruce Springsteen (1996)
  • Jackson Browne (2002)
  • Joan Baez (2003)
  • Sean Penn (2004)
  • Garrison Keillor (2007)
  • Michael Moore (2010)
  • Rachel Maddow (2012)
  • John Mellencamp (2012)

Proceeds from Steinbeck Award ceremonies go to support the activities of the Center for Steinbeck Studies, including the Steinbeck in the Schools project.