"Translation is the medium through which American readers gain greater access to the world. By providing us with as direct a connection as possible to the individual voice of the author, translation provides a window into the heart of a culture." ——Cliff Becker, May 16, 2005
Cliff Becker (1964-2005) was the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Director from 1999-2005. Cliff believed translation to be a global necessity, and he led the development of the NEA Literature Translation Initiative. He hoped to establish a National Endowment for Translation, and one of the first steps toward that goal was the launch of the International Literature Awards. The NEA announced that program on May 16, 2005, the day before Cliff died of a heart attack. In May, 2009, Cliff's widow, Leila Bakry-Becker, established The Cliff Becker Endowment for the Literary Arts in her husband's memory.
The initial project of the endowment is the Cliff Becker Book Prize for a work of translation in poetry. The winning manuscript will be published by White Pine Press in a bilingual edition. As the endowment grows, the book prize will expand to include other genres.
The inaugural prize winner is Chantal Wright for her translation of A Hand Full of Water by Tzveta Sofronieva.
Contributions to the Cliff Becker Endowment for the Literary Arts may be sent to the following address, with checks payable to the "University of Missouri."
Cliff Becker Endowment for the Literary Arts
College of Arts and Science
University of Missouri
110 Lowry Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
You may also make donations by phone at 573-882-4409 or online here.