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NEA Lit Program Awards $2M in Grants
Calvin Reid -- 1/17/00

The Literature Program of the National Endowment for the Arts announced the first round of grants awarded in 2000, with more than $2 million awarded to 60 organizations and 41 individual writers. This is the first and largest round of grants. The next round of awards will be announced in April.

Cliff Becker, director of the NEA's Literature Program, told PW the program awarded $1 million in creation and presentation grants to 55 presses, magazines and other institutions around the country; $180,000 in planning and stabilization grants to five organizations; and $820,000 in individual literary fellowships to 41 writers and translators. Becker said that two-thirds of the grants went to literary presses and magazines, including a $75,000 grant to P ts & Writers for its magazine and writer services. Other large grants included $55,000 to Copper Canyon Press, $45,000 to the University of Nebraska Press's translation series, $50,000 to Graywolf Press and $45,ooo to Arte Publico Press.

The 41 individual Creative Writing Fellows are awarded $20,000 each. The fellowship program received more than 940 applications.

According to Becker, despite a flat funding climate, NEA's Literature Program had incrementally increased the total amount of funds granted from last year. He credited the small increase to "the stunning amount of creative works coming from indie publishers." He also pointed to the growth in funding for book fairs and festivals, such as the Miami Book Fair, noting that these fairs provide a forum for promoting books "by both nonprofit and for-profit houses. The grants help the fairs to bring in writers for appearances that they otherwise might not get to make. They're a worthy investment in the culture."
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