Press Releases

December 5, 2004

Celebrated Playwright Joe Pintauro Recipient of Annual Steinbeck Writers Award
Prestigious Playwright to be Honored at Meet the Writers Book Fair and Hamptons Summer Kickoff

Amber Bryant (

Southampton, NY – Playwright, poet and novelist Joe Pintauro has rubbed elbows with documentary guru George Stoney and actors Ian McKellan, Calista Flockhart, Olympia Dukakis and Melissa Joan Hart. He will now walk among the country’s top authors and scholars as the winner of the prestigious annual Steinbeck Writers Award.

Past recipients of the award include E.L. Doctorow, Kurt Vonnegut, Betty Friedan and Tom Wolfe.

Pintauro will be the 17th recipient of the award when Southampton College hosts the 28th annual Meet the Writers Book Fair on Friday, May 6, 2005, from 4-7:30 p.m.

"I'm very excited about it. One of things that made it so interesting is that, last month, I was in Los Angeles with a group called the Pacific Theatre Company and they had a production of ‘Of Mice and Men’ while I was there. Having seen that wonderful production of that play and having been so close to his work, to hear about this award just overwhelms me,” Pintauro said.

He is the acclaimed author of two novels, “State of Grace” and “Cold Hands,” which was selected by the New York Times as one of the best novels of the year, and several volumes of poetry. He has written a plethora of plays including his debut “Snow Orchid,” “Raft of the Medusa,” “Beside Herself,” “By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea,” “Men’s Lives,” “Heaven and Earth,” “The Dead Boy,” “Wild Blue” and “Salvation.” His most recent play, “Beautiful Dreamer,” explores the life of the only woman to receive a congressional medal of honor during the Civil War.

His work has been performed at the Vineyard Theatre in Manhattan, the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor and the Circle Repertory and Gate Nottinghill theatres in London. His plays have attracted actors Calista Flockhart and Melissa Joan Hart, who both performed in “Beside Herself,” Ian McKellan, who performed in “The Dead Boy,” and Olympia Dukakis, who starred in “Snow Orchid.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Manhattan College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from St. Jerome’s College in Ontario, Pintauro taught fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence University and New York University and filmmaking at Marymount College and The School of Visual Arts. He also taught playwriting at Southampton College in 2003 at the summer Writer’s Conference.

The event, held at Southampton College since 2003, has become an East End institution and is considered the unofficial start of the Hamptons summer season.  The last Book Fair set records as the most profitable ever, raising $35,500 with $10,200 from book sales. Over 90 authors participated.

Local writers of new books will meet the public and autograph their works at the 28th Annual Book Fair, which is sponsored by the John Steinbeck Project and Southampton College; proceeds support scholarships for graduate writing students and acquisitions for the library at Southampton College. East End writers who have had a book published since last May or those who will soon have a book published are invited to participate in this year’s event; please call Carol Gilbert at (631) 287-8348. 

The Steinbeck Writers Award was previously named The John Steinbeck Award. The name was changed to include Elaine Steinbeck, a founder and friend of the Book Fair.Past recipients of the award are E.L. Doctorow, Lanford Wilson, Peter Matthiessen, Kurt Vonnegut, Terrence McNally, Betty Friedan, David Ignatow, Wilfred Sheed, Edward Albee, James Salter, Susan Isaacs, Dava Sobel, Kenneth Koch, Gregory Rebassa, Tom Wolfe and Robert Caro last year.

Since its inception in 1977, the Book Fair has raised funds to support student writing awards and scholarships, acquisitions for the College Library, and the John Steinbeck Writers Room, located in the Southampton College library.