Famous writer John Steinbeck’s first great success came with his novel “Tortilla Flat” which was published on May 28, 1935. It told the story of a group of friends enjoying life and wine at the end of the Great War. It was made into a movie in 1945 starring Spencer Tracey and Hedy Lamarr.
Steinbeck was born in California and later on moved to New York. There he worked as a manual laborer and journalist. During this time he wrote his first two novels. After he got married in 1930 he and his wife moved back to California. Finally financial success came with “Tortilla Flat” describing the adventures of drifters sharing a house in California.
His next novels were “In Dubious Battle” and “Of Mice and Men”. Both were a success. Then Steinbeck came out with his masterpiece in 1938 it was “The Grapes of Wrath”. It told the story of an Oklahoma family who had lost their farm and had become fruit pickers in California. This impressive novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939. I remember struggling with it in my English literature class and was extremely grateful that Hollywood had made a movie out of it starring Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell.
After WWII Steinbeck’s other novels included “Cannery Row” and “The Pearl”. “Cannery Row” became a movie in 1982 starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger. He is also known for writing some successful films such as “Forgotten Village” and Viva Zapata!” After becoming interested in marine biology Steinbeck published a nonfiction book “The Sea of Cortez” in 1941. For those of you as inquisitive as I am, the Sea of Cortez is also known as the Gulf of California. The writer made a trip across the U.S. in a camper and records his adventure in a travel memoir titled “Travels with Charlie”. Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. He died in New York City in 1968.
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