Mumford and Sons have been announced as the recipients of this year’s John Steinbeck Award, which will be presented as part of a special event honouring the band in September.
The prestigious award was established in 1996, and is given annually to a writer, thinker, artist or activist who embodies the “empathetic spirit and values” of John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.
Mumford and Sons will receive the prize on Wednesday September 18 at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall, in a ceremony which will feature the band in conversation and an acoustic performance.
The decision to award Mumford and Sons the prize was based in part on their ‘Gentleman of The Road’ fund, which was established in 2006 and supports global and local charities fighting for social justice.
They also paid tribute to Steinbeck in 2012 with a gig titled Mumford and Sons in Monterey: A Salute to John Steinbeck.
“Mumford and Sons can also be linked to John Steinbeck through their music, especially songs such as ‘Timshel,’ ‘Dust Bowl Dance,’ and ‘Rose of Sharon,’ and through their advocacy of Steinbeck’s writings,” said Ted Cady, chair of the Steinbeck Award committee.
Previous recipients of the Steinbeck Award include fellow musicians Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, John Mellencamp and Jackson Browne. Other winners include actor Sean Penn, playwright Arthur Miller and The Kite Runner author Khaled Hosseini.