A specialist on Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, Susan Shillinglaw is one of the top scholars in the world on the subject and has been the Director of the National Steinbeck Center since 2015. Previously she served on the board, helped coordinate Steinbeck Festivals, and was the Scholar in Residence from 2005 to the present. She spent most of her career as a Professor of English at San Jose State University, where she was the President’s Scholar for 2012-13. Shillinglaw also directed the San Jose State University Steinbeck Center for 18 years. She has been teaching and writing about Steinbeck for decades and has never tired of either man or writer. She has published widely on Steinbeck, most recently Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage, On Reading The Grapes of Wrath, and A Journey into Steinbeck’s California. She also wrote introductions to several of Steinbeck’s books for Penguin New American Library editions of Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, A Russian Journal and The Winter of Our Discontent. Other publications include collections of scholarly essays and an edition of Steinbeck’s journalism America and Americas and Selected Nonfiction. Shillinglaw brings an enthusiasm for Steinbeck’s legacy and his career. John Steinbeck was engaged with key issues of the 20th century: migrations west; ethnicity; Mexican heritage; ecology and the environment; World War II; Vietnam; and the meaning of the “common good” during the turbulent 1960s. Shillinglaw earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell College and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Steinbeck endures because he does not permit readers to complacently dig in, like the hermit crab. He embraces the fullness of life. With compassion, tolerance, and humility, he surveys landscapes: of place, of spirit, of a nation.” -Susan Shillinglaw