Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Cannery Row Days: A Novel Celebration

Cannery Row Days: A Novel Celebration

September 16 - November 7, 2020


This year is the 75th anniversary of the publication of Steinbeck’s masterpiece, Cannery Row (1945). This little novel, written immediately after Steinbeck returned from a journalistic assignment overseas during World War II, captures life in 1930s Monterey as well as the ecological vision of Steinbeck and his friend Edward F. Ricketts. Cannery Row celebrates community; Steinbeck’s model was the intertidal.

Dive into Cannery Row, and join online presentations, discussions, and films about the history of the Row, Ricketts, ecology, friendship, and communities.

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KICK-OFF WEBINAR: “Unpacking Cannery Row” September 16, 6:30 - 7:45 pm
Susan Shillinglaw, Robert DeMott, and Gerry Low-Sabado will consider the first 5 chapters of the book!
Start reading!
Watch a video of the event
September Book Discussions
Thursdays at 2:00 pm

September 17, 2:00 - 3:15 pm
“Canners and Fishermen: Working Cannery Row”
Tim Thomas
Watch the video

September 24, 2:00 - 3:15 pm
“Natural and Cultural History of Cannery Row”
Greg Cailliet and Susan Shillinglaw
Focus on chapters 6-12.
Watch the video

October 1, 2:00 - 3:15 pm
“Cannery Row History”
Geoffrey Dunn

“Frogs, octopi and a gopher: Ed Ricketts in fact and fiction”
William Gilly. Complete the book
Watch the video
October Film Series
Thursdays at 2:00 pm

October 8, 2:00 - 3:15 pm
Steve Rosen introduces his film, Silver Harvest
Watch the video

October 15, 2:00 - 3:15 pm
Steve and Mary Albert introduce their film about Ed Ricketts, The Great Tidepool
Watch the video

October 22, 2:00 - 3:15 pm
Susan Shillinglaw, Chris Chase, and John Gregg on Western Flyer film: Sea of Cortez, Cannery Row, and the return of the Western Flyer
Watch the video

October 29, 2:00 - 3:15 pm
"Inside Hovden Cannery, 1943." This 20 minute film is the "best footage of the canneries that exists," notes historian Tim Thomas, who will introduce the film, the fishing industry, and the workers. Historian Kim Gudmundson will join the discussion after the film.
Watch the video

November 5, 2:00 - 3:15 pm
David Ward, writer and director of the 1982 film, Cannery Row, will be interviewed by Jan Price about the making of the film. Please watch Cannery Row before the discussion and bring questions!
Check-out a Cannery Row DVD from MPL or you can rent it on YouTube or Amazon Prime, or find it on other film hosting sites.
More information
Booth's broiled sardines, F_ E_ Booth Company, Inc_, San Francisco
November 7, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Reading of the novel by prominent locals • Reenactments • Historical exhibits
Virtual tours of Ricketts’s Lab, Cannery Row, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium • Afternoon presentations
8:00 am - 12:30 pm
Reading Cannery Row. Kick-off by Jimmy Panetta

10:00 am
Virtual Tour of Pacific Biological Laboratories with Mike Guardino and Susan Shillinglaw

11:00 am
Virtual Tour of the Monterey Bay Aquarium historical exhibits with Tim Thomas - CANCELED

Virtual Tour of Cannery Row with Tim Thomas

More information on the above events
1:30 - 5:00 pm
Why read Cannery Row in 2020?
• Bill Souder: “Cannery Row and the Frog Hunt”
• Video of Nancy Ricketts in celebration of her memoir, Becoming Myself: A Memoir
• Don Kohrs: “Finding Ed Ricketts”
• Tim Thomas: By the Light of the Fire: Fishing Squid on Monterey Bay
• John Straley and Katie Rodger, “Ricketts Today”
• Tim Thomas discussing film on Japanese return to Monterey after World War II, “Enduring Democracy”

More information on the above event

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cannery workers monterey 1935


Steve and Mary Albert
A local husband-and-wife team whose award-winning documentaries have been shown at scientific institutions across the country from Sitka Alaska’s Natural History Museum to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington D.C.

Greg Cailliet
Professor Emeritus of Biology, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, whose specialty is ichthyology and marine ecology. He is the former president of the Cannery Row Foundation.

Chris Chase
Project Director of the Western Flyer Foundation.

Robert DeMott
Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus Ohio University and author of numerous studies of John Steinbeck and editor of Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath.

Geoffrey Dunn
Historian and award-winning filmmaker.

William Gilly
Professor of Biology at Stanford University, Hopkins Marine station, with a specialty in Humboldt squid.

John Gregg
President of Gregg Drilling, LLC, and Founder and Director of the Western Flyer Foundation.

Don Kohrs
Branch Library Specialist at the Harold A. Miller Library of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, Don has conducted extensive research on Edward F. Ricketts and on Steinbeck’s family history.

Gerry Low-Sabado
Great granddaughter of Quock Mui, the first documented Chinese woman born in the Monterey Area. Gerry’s tireless research into the history of Chinese villages on the peninsula has helped to teach about the struggles, hardships, and contributions of diverse peoples in our community.
Sandy Lydon
Professor of History Emeritus, Cabrillo College, and author of Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region and The Japanese in the Monterey Region: A Brief History.

Jan Price
Radio talk show host, film critic and writer who has traveled the world to cover film festivals and to interview the people who make films. She hosts the weekly radio show, “The Jan Price Show: All About Movies” on iHeart Radio.

Nancy Ricketts
Ed Ricketts’s daughter lives in Sitka, Alaska where she was a librarian, researcher and, most recently, author of Becoming Myself: A Memoir (2020).

Katie Rodger
Lecturer at University of California, Davis, and editor of Ricketts’s letters, Renaissance Man of Cannery Row, and of his essays, Breaking Through: Essays, Journals, and Travelogues of Edward F. Ricketts.

Steve Rosen
Award-winning Monterey filmmaker.

Susan Shillinglaw
Professor of English, San Jose State University, whose research focuses on John Steinbeck.

William Souder
Author of biographies of Rachael Carson and John James Audubon as well as a new biography of John Steinbeck, Mad at the World: The Life of John Steinbeck (2020).

John Straley
Award-winning author of ten crime novels, Sitka, Alaska resident, and contributor to Ed Ricketts: From Cannery Row to Sitka, Alaska (second edition, 2020).

Tim Thomas
Fisheries historian and former Director of the Monterey Maritime Museum.

David Schad Ward
Wrote and directed the 1982 film Cannery Row. He won an Academy Award for his screenplay for The Sting (1973) and was nominated for Sleepless in Seattle.