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Cliff Becker


“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

In collaboration with White Pine Press and the Cliff Becker Endowment for the Literary Arts, the Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri announce the second annual Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation, which produces one volume of literary translation in English, annually. These volumes initially will be bi-lingual editions of poetry, but as the endowment grows we will begin to include literary fiction and nonfiction in the prize rotation.



  • 80-140 pp., bi-lingual manuscripts in original, English translations of poetry.
  • TWO title pages—ONE bearing only the title of the work and name of the non-English poet, and ONE bearing as well the name and contact information of the English translator.
  • A current listing of acknowledgements, indicating permission of the original poet or his/her estate, as applicable, and indicating any previous publication of individual poems.
  • No other indication of the translator’s identity may appear anywhere in the submitted manuscript.
  • $25 submission fee made payable to The University of Missouri, with Cliff Becker Endowment for the Literary Arts written on the “memo” line.
  • Manuscripts will not be returned; please include a letter-sized SASE for notification of results.
  • Postmark Deadline: October 30, 2012

The translator of the winning manuscript will receive a standard publication contract with White Pine Press yielding a bi-lingual edition of 1000 copies of approximately 128 pages.  In lieu of an advance against royalties, the translator will receive a prize of $1000.

Send to:
The Cliff Becker Book Prize
Department of English/Tate Hall 114
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211-1500

A Hand Full of Water by Tzveta Sofronieva, translated by Chantal Wright is the first winner of the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation, chosen by Willis Barnstone, and published by White Pine Press in the fall of 2012.

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.