John Steinbeck was born in 1902, in California's Salinas Valley, a region that would eventually serve as the setting for Of Mice and Men as well as many of his other works. He studied literature and writing at Stanford University, but disenrolled in 1925, after six years, without a degree. He moved to New York City and worked as a laborer and journalist for five years, until he completed his first novel in 1929, Cup of Gold. Soon thereafter, Steinbeck married and moved back to California, where he published two more novels (The Pastures of Heaven and To a God Unknown), as well as worked on short stories. With the publication of Tortilla Flat in 1935, Steinbeck achieved popular success and financial security. A relentless and dedicated writer, Steinbeck experimented with many forms: In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath (considered to be his masterpiece) focus on the California laboring class; he wrote a screenplay entitled The Forgotten Village; he studied marine biology and wrote Sea of Cortez; when World War II came, Steinbeck wrote Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team; he published a nonfiction account of his travels through America with his dog, Charley; East of Eden, published in1952, is a saga based on Steinbeck's family history. Steinbeck spent the last years of his life in New York City and Sag Harbor, writing and traveling with his third wife. He won the Nobel Prize in 1962 and died in 1968, leaving a sizeable body of literature behind him.