Legendary author and Nobel Prize Winner John Steinbeck lived and worked in the Village of Sag Harbor from 1955 until his passing in 1968. In his work, he was known for his compelling voice and unapologetic social commentary, which cemented his novels and stories in the American literary canon. In life, he immersed himself in the traditions and culture of Sag Harbor, of which he was incredibly affectionate, as demonstrated in two of his most famous works: The Winter of Our Discontent and Travels with Charley. He was also heavily involved in community activities and was a regular at pubs and ice cream shops around the village.
Steinbeck found his “Eden” in his secluded homestead overlooking Morris Cove and Upper Sag Harbor Cove. It is a landmark truly symbolic of Sag Harbor’s heritage and Steinbeck’s influence on and love of the community he once called home.
To preserve the property’s legacy and provide an invaluable resource for the next generation of authors, the Sag Harbor Partnership and the University of Texas at Austin have proposed acquiring the property for the purposes of creating the Steinbeck Writer’s Retreat. The program will grant a select number of writers the opportunity to apply for residency to finish their works in the same environment Steinbeck completed many of his novels. The retreat will also serve as a beacon of literary resources for the community, building upon and furthering Sag Harbor’s reputation as a mecca for the arts and culture.
In support of this proposal, Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) has nominated the project to receive $500,000 in State and Municipal (SAM) funding to acquire the property.
“Sag Harbor has a vibrant literary legacy that must be preserved, said Assemblymember Thiele. “In honoring Mr. Steinbeck and his love for our community, this project will ensure writers can continue to share in its unique and serene nature and greatly serve our community. I’m grateful to the Sag Harbor Partnership for working to bring this vision to life.”
“Once again, First Assemblyman Fred Thiele has ridden to the rescue in making discretionary funds available to help save Steinbeck’s wonderful house and grounds for future generations of aspiring writers, which will also help cement Sag Harbor’s great literary tradition,” said Sag Harbor Partnership Board Member April Gornik.
“The Sag Harbor Partnership is honored to have Assemblyman Fred Thiele nominate the organization for receipt of a Capital Funding grant toward the creation of the Steinbeck Writer’s Retreat, said Sag Harbor Partnership Co-President Susan Mead. “We are thrilled to have his support.”