2017 Cliff Becker Book Prize Winner

White Pine Press, the Cliff Becker Endowment for the Literary Arts, and the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) are proud to announce the winner of the fifth annual Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation, which produces one volume of literary translation in English, annually.

This year’s winning manuscript is Purifications or the Sign of Retaliation by Myriam Fraga, translated by Chloe Hill. The book will be published by White Pine Press in fall 2017 and launched at ALTA’s annual conference, ALTA40: Reflections/Refractions, in Minneapolis, MN in October 2017.

Judges Aron Aji and Diana Thow said of the winning manuscript:

“These are dense, florid, strange, and beautiful poems that rewrite the Greek pantheon into a feminist Brazilian landscape. The collection makes its way from these abstract, timeless myths to vibrant present tense, the journey culminating with a moving final poem-elegy for modern-day bard: John Lennon. The translator has created a beautiful voice in English, paying special attention to the clean sound, powerful movement, and aching pulse of each line, making this translation a pleasure to read and re-read. Since the poet Myriam Fraga passed away this year, the Cliff Becker prize not only represents a special opportunity to introduce an innovative and powerful lyric voice in translation to an English readership, but also allows us space to mourn the loss of a great poet, just as we’ve discovered her.”

The major motifs of Fraga’s expansive body of work include the ocean – and by extension islands, voyages, and shipwrecks –; the city, most often Salvador da Bahia; ancestrality; and mythology of such diverse incarnations as African fables, biblical legend, and Greek epic. She tightly weaves this imagery to contemplate on memory and the collective history of Salvador, Brazil, and the world.

Myriam Fraga up until her passing in February 2016 was, and continues to be, one of the leading literary figures of Salvador da Bahia. She produced over 10 volumes of poetry plus several children’s books on popular figures in Bahian culture.

Chloe Hill is a PhD student in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University. In 2014, with the support of a Fulbright fellowship, she traveled to Brazil to work alongside Myriam Fraga translating a selection of poems. Her translations have appeared in Metamorphoses: The Five-College Literary Translation Journal and Exchanges: The University of Iowa Literary Translation Journal.

Diana Thow translates from the Italian; her co-translation of Elisa Biagini’s The Guest in the Wood won the Best Translated Book Award for poetry in 2014.

Aron Aji translates from the Turkish. He is the director of the MFA in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa and president of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).

Submissions for the sixth annual (2018) Cliff Becker Prize will be accepted through April 7, 2017.

Please visit us at www.literarytranslators.org/awards for more information.

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