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Posts Tagged ‘John Steinbeck’

John Steinbeck Gets Google Doodle For His Birthday

steinbeck doodle

Google has created a Doodle to celebrate John Steinbeck’s 112th birthday. Throughout his writing career, Steinbeck penned many beloved works including East of Eden, Of Mice & Men, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning title, The Grapes of Wrath.

To this day, Steinbeck is a widely respected and read author. According to SFGate, the organizers behind the Steinbeck Festival plan to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath at this year’s event. In April, the Of Mice & Men play starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd will open on Broadway.

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Jennifer Lawrence To Star in ‘East of Eden’ Adaptation

eastofedenJennifer Lawrence will star in a new adaptation of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.

The Hunger Games director Gary Ross will develop the project and Anna Culp will executive produce. Literary agency McIntosh & Otis negotiated the deal with Universal Pictures/Imagine Entertainment, re-optioning the rights that the studio acquired in 2004. Sample the famous novel at this link:

Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

James Franco Cast in ‘Of Mice and Men’ Broadway Revival

Academy Award-nominated actor James Franco will make his Broadway debut in the Of Mice and Men stage revival.

During an appearance on The Colbert Report to promote Oz the Great and Powerful, Franco revealed that he will take on the lead role of George Milton. The video embedded above contains the full interview–what do you think?

John Steinbeck‘s book was first published in 1937. Over the years, this celebrated novel has inspired countless adaptations from theatrical projects to award-winning movies and even a radio play. Who would you cast as the rabbit-loving giant Lennie Small? (via BuzzFeed)

Ken Burns Documentary Revives Rejected Book

Back in 1939, Random House dropped a book called Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb, declining because John Steinbeck‘s Grapes of Wrath had swept the market with a similar story about Americans suffering in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.

Babb wouldn’t publish her book until 2004, but Ken Burns‘ new Dust Bowl documentary studied the book last night, driving the book up Amazon charts. UPDATE: In the video embedded above, we’ve added a MediabistroTV interview with Burns about his new documentary.

Last month, Babb’s book was ranked No. 32 out of all books on Amazon, while Grapes of Wrath was ranked No. 1,218.

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Learning from John Steinbeck Letters

Novelist Thomas Steinbeck received a mountain of letters from his father, John Steinbeck. Over at The Hairpin, the son of the late Nobel Prize winning author talked about what he learned from these letters.

Follow this link to read a letter Steinbeck wrote about relationship advice. Thomas has written a number of books, most recently The Silver Lotus. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

my father sent me this very long letter, and he had very tiny handwriting — he wrote by hand — and it was like an 18-page letter. It took me a week to decipher this thing, because of his handwriting, primarily. And when I got to the very end of it, I noticed at the very bottom, he said, “Son, I want to apologize. I would’ve sent you a note but I didn’t have the time!”

Meaning, that ultimately, the greatest amount of time in all writing is spent editing. My father said there’s only one trick to writing, and that’s not writing, that’s writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. Like sculpture. I mean, the first thing off the top of your head isn’t the most brilliant thing you ever thought of. And then when you’re writing about it, when you want others to understand what you’re still talking about, then it really requires that you edit yourself really, really well, so that other people can comprehend it.

Rachel Maddow Wins John Steinbeck Award

Author and The Rachel Maddow Show host Rachel Maddow has won the John Steinbeck Award.

Previous recipients included Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Arthur Miller, Studs Terkel and Garrison Keillor. Maddow is the third woman to receive the prestigious award and the first recipient under the age of 40.

Thomas Steinbeck, son of the great John Steinbeck, had this statement in the release: “My father would have adored Rachel Maddow … Listening to Rachel Maddow is like listening to Walter Cronkite. We have that kind of trust in her. When I watch Rachel Maddow, I feel like I’m part of an alliance. I hope she’s in it for the long haul, because we really need her.”

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Betty White on Writer’s Block

How does television star Betty White avoid writer’s block? The same way as her old friend John Steinbeck.

We obtained a copy of her new book, If You Ask Me (set for a May 3 release)–and it has a whole chapter dedicated to “Writer’s Block.” White has already written a few books over her career, including The Leading Lady: Dinah’s Story and Here We Go Again: My Life In Television.

Here’s an excerpt from the upcoming book:  “John Steinbeck, who was Allen [Ludden]‘s and my good friend, did his writing standing up at a drafting table–in long-hand, his white bull terrier, Angel, lying across his feet. People always seem amazed that I write in long-hand. Well, if it’s good enough for Steinbeck, it’s good enough for me! I really can’t communicate to a machine–the thoughts want to go from my brain down my arm to my hand to the page.”

Book Club Inspires Ballet

9780670033041L.jpgBook clubs have created many things, from friendship to book sales, but one book club actually inspired an entire dance program.

For her first full-length ballet, Promise, veteran Chicago dancer Winifred Haun wrote a piece inspired by John Steinbeck‘s novel, “East of Eden.” According to a Flavorwire interview, the idea was born in a book club. Unfortunately, the actual text won’t appear in the upcoming show.

Here’s more from the interview: “I first got the idea when I read ‘East of Eden’ in 2003 as part of a mother’s book club. The book just filled me. I can’t think of another way to describe it … I would love to use the text from the book in this but the Steinbeck literary agent, who is actually a lawyer, has been in touch with me about this and it would be very expensive for me to use some of the language in the book. We’re still kind of in negotiation about it and perhaps one day I will.”

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal by John Steinbeck’s Son

steinbeck.jpgYesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by John Steinbeck‘s relatives over a copyright case, sparking bitter remarks about publishing.

According to the NY Times, a district court judge ruled in 2006 that Steinbeck’s son, Thomas Steinbeck and granddaughter, Blake Smyle, could reclaim the rights to ten novels by Steinbeck–ending a 1994 contract with Penguin. In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned that ruling, and the son and granddaughter had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would reconsider.

Here’s a response from Steinbeck’s son posted at PR Newswire: “At stake is far more than our own situation–the Supreme Court could have protected all the authors and artists in America from a future of intellectual bondage to big corporate publishers. The publishers, like slave-owners characterized by Abraham Lincoln, want to command writers, ‘You grow the grain, you make the bread, and we’ll eat it.’” (Via Publishers Lunch)

Google and Authors Guild Agree on Extension

googlebooks.jpgFederal judge Denny Chin signed off on a four-month extension in the Google and the Authors Guild settlement.

According to Publishers Weekly, the legal deadline for writers to agree to the settlement or fight it in court used to be May 5, but has now been moved to September 2009. Both parties are working to finalize a settlement to the Guild’s lawsuit over Google’s efforts to scan millions of pages of books into an online database.

Here’s more from Wired Magazine: “A small coalition of copyright holders, including folk singer Arlo Guthrie, John Steinbeck‘s heirs and sci-fi god Philip K. Dick‘s trust, asked a federal court judge Friday to give all book authors another four months to comprehend and respond to the 334-page settlement proposed last October after the Author’s Guild sued Google for massive copyright violations in its Google Book Search product.”