Francisco Jiménez, author of the bestselling UNM Press book The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, will receive the John Steinbeck Award on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at San José State University.

The John Steinbeck Award is offered to artists and activists whose work exemplifies the spirit of Steinbeck’s social engagement. Endorsed by the Steinbeck estate, the award is presented by the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies at SJSU.

Jiménez joins a prestigious group of previous Steinbeck Award recipients, including musician Bruce Springsteen, farm labor leader and civil rights advocate Dolores Huerta, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, filmmaker Ken Burns, and author Khaled Hosseini.

A collection of 12 short stories presented from the perspective of a young boy, The Circuit draws from Jiménez’s childhood experiences growing up in a family of Mexican migrant farmworkers. “The Circuit,” the story of young Panchito and his trumpet, is one of the most widely anthologized stories in Chicano literature. In this wise, sensitive little boy, Jiménez created a character who has grown into a role model for subsequent generations of immigrants. The book is the winner of several awards, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction and the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature.

Established in 1929 by the Regents of The University of New Mexico, UNM Press is a well-known and respected publisher in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, indigenous studies, Latin American studies, American studies, Chicana/o studies, art, architecture, and the history, literature, ecology, and cultures of the American West. The Press imprint is overseen by a faculty committee, whose 12 members are appointed by the Faculty Senate to represent a broad spectrum of university departments.

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