John Steinbeck's awards and achievements for his novels and short stories secured him a place among the great American writers of the 20th century. From his first novels, like Cup of Gold (1929) and Tortilla Flats (1935) to his most recognized works, including Of Mice and Men (1937), The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and Cannery Row (1945), Steinbeck produced 16 novels, 6 non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.
Awards in the 1930s
While Stenbeck had published several novels and short stories before 1935, it was Tortilla Flats that first gathered recognition. The novel, about humble people living in Monterey, Calif., earned Steinbeck the Commonwealth of California Gold Medal for Best Novel in 1935. He also won the next year for In Dubious Battle, about labor relations set in California fruit country. When Of Mice and Men was published in 1938, Steinbeck was awarded the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for the tale of two farm workers seeking land of their own.
Awards in the 1940s
By the 1940s, Steinbeck was well established with both critics and readers, and his Depression-era saga of the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath made an impact. The novel earned Steinbeck the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1940, bringing with it international acclaim. In 1948, he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a distinguished and elite organization made up of artists, composers, writers and architects.
Awards in the 1950s and 1960s
In Steinbeck's later years, his work was widely recognized as being witty, sentimental, humorous and extremely perceptive of social and psychological relationships. His life's body of work was recognized in 1962 with the Nobel Prize for Literature. Steinbeck received the title of Honorary Consultant in American Literature to the Library of Congress in 1963. The year 1964 was a significant one for Steinbeck, as he received the United States Medal of Freedom, the Annual Paperback of the Year award and the Press Medal of Freedom.