John Steinbeck (1902-1968), born in
Salinas, California, came from a family of moderate means. He
worked his way through college at Stanford University
but never graduated. In 1925 he went to New York, where he tried
for a few years to establish himself as a free-lance writer, but
he failed and returned to California. After publishing some
novels and short stories, Steinbeck first became widely known
with Tortilla Flat (1935), a series of humorous stories
about Monterey paisanos.
Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labour, but there is also a streak of worship of the soil in his books, which does not always agree with his matter-of-fact sociological approach. After the rough and earthy humour of Tortilla Flat, he moved on to more serious fiction, often aggressive in its social criticism, to In Dubious Battle (1936), which deals with the strikes of the migratory fruit pickers on California plantations. This was followed by Of Mice and Men (1937), the story of the imbecile giant Lennie, and a series of admirable short stories collected in the volume The Long Valley (1938). In 1939 he published what is considered his best work, The Grapes of Wrath, the story of Oklahoma tenant farmers who, unable to earn a living from the land, moved to California where they became migratory workers.
Among his later works should be mentioned East of Eden (1952), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), and Travels with Charley (1962), a travelogue in which Steinbeck wrote about his impressions during a three-month tour in a truck that led him through forty American states. He died in New York City in 1968.
Steinbeck began writing the story as a movie script  in 1944, and first published it as a short story called "The Pearl of the World" in Woman's Home Companion in December 1945.  The original publication is also sometimes listed as "The Pearl of La Paz".  He expanded it to novella length and published it under the name The Pearl by Viking Press in 1947.  As he was writing the novella version, he was frequently travelling to Mexico where the film version ,  co-written with Jack Wagner ,  was being filmed. The film was also released by RKO in 1947 as a co-promotion with the book.