- 6th Annual Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer, Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada, Reno 2008.
- Lurie Chair and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, San Jose State University, Spring 2006.
- Award of Excellence in General Hawaiian Culture and Award of Excellence in Nonfiction (for HAWAIIAN SON), Hawai'i Book Publishers Association, 2005
- Writer-In-Residence, German Federal Reserve Bank, Frankfurt, May 2002.
- "Californiana" Silver Medal, Commonwealth Club, (for THE LITERATURE OF CALIFORNIA, Vol. 1), San Francisco, 2001.
- Commendation, The California State Assembly (for THE LITERATURE OF CALIFORNIA), Sacramento, 2001.
- Who's Who in America, 2000
- Carey McWilliams Award, California Studies Assn., 2000.
- George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. Writer in Residence, Fall 1999, and Fall 2007
- Distinguished Achievement Award, Western Literature Assn., 1999.
- American Book Award (for THE LAST PARADISE), from The Before Columbus Foundation, 1999.
- On behalf of U.C. Santa Cruz, Chancellor Robert Sinsheimer presented Queen Elizabeth II with an inscribed copy of CALIFORNIANS, during Her Majesty's Bay Area visit in early 1983
- Rockefeller Foundation, Writers Residency, Bellagio, Italy, Spring 1995.
- Writer-In-Residence, Centrum Foundation, Port Townsend, WA, Winter 1992
- Library of Congress, Award Story, PEN Syndicated Fiction Project, 1990.
- Hawai'i International Film Festival, Special Award, 1989.
- Visiting Writer, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Fall 1985.
- Allen T. Gilliland Chair in Telecommunications, San Jose State University, 1985.
- American Book Award (for CALIFORNIANS), from The Before Columbus Foundation, 1983.
- California Council of the Humanities, Member 1983-87.
- Distinguished Visiting Writer, University of Hawai'i, 1983.
- Travel Grant to Asia, the Arts America Program, U.S. Information Agency, Fall 1981, Fall 1984.
- Villa Montalvo Writer-In-Residence, Saratoga, CA, Fall 1980, Spring 1992.
- NEA Individual Writing Grant (for CONTINENTAL DRIFT), 1976-77.
- Emmy Award Nomination, 1976, for Outstanding Writing in a Drama.
- Humanitas Prize, 1976, (for the NBC teleplay, FAREWELL TO MANZANAR).
- Joseph Henry Jackson Award (for GIG), San Francisco, 1967.
- Wallace Stegner Writing Fellow, Stanford, 1966-67.
- U.S.Air Force Short Story Award, 1959