Born: 27 February 1902
Died: 20 December 1968 (arteriosclerosis)
Birthplace: Salinas, California
Best known as: Author of The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck was one of the best-known American novelists of the mid-20th century. His frequent topic was the plight of the misfits, the homeless and the hopeless in a fast-changing America. (Those themes sometimes earned him comparisons with his contemporary William Faulkner.) Steinbeck's first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929. His most celebrated book remains The Grapes of Wrath: the story of the Joads, impoverished farmers who migrate to California after losing their Oklahoma land. Published in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. (Henry Fonda played Tom Joad in the 1940 film of the novel.) Steinbeck's other books include Of Mice and Men (1937), Cannery Row (1945) and East of Eden (1952, later made into a film starring James Dean). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
Extra credit: Steinbeck wrote the story for the 1944 Alfred Hitchcock film Lifeboat.
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