Claudia Rankine Named 2016 Reid Writer

The Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series has brought celebrated writers to Fordham for readings and masterclasses since 2008. We are happy to announce that acclaimed poet and professor Claudia Rankine has been named the Reid Writer in 2016.

Rankine's most recent book Citizen is the winner of the 2015 National Book Critic's Circle award and has also been recognized as winner of the 2015 PEN Open Book Award, finalist for the 2014 Book Award in Poetry, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, winner of the NAACP Award, winner of Poets' and Writers' Jackson Poetry Prize, and one of the Millions Most Anticipated Books.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Weinberg for The New York Times.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Weinberg for The New York Times.

Citizen explores the realities of a 'post-racial' America and highlights the injustices that we allow to fester when the concept of justice goes unchecked. Placing Citizen in the lineage of W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk, The Washington Post writes, “Part protest lyric, part art book, Citizen is a dazzling expression of the painful double consciousness of black life in America.”

The New York Times says of the collection, "But Rankine wants us to know that no American citizen is ever really free of race and racism. The potential to say a racist thing or think a racist thought resides in all of us like an unearthed mine from a forgotten war. [....] As Rankine pointedly writes, 'Just getting along shouldn’t be an ambition.' 'Citizen' throws a Molotov cocktail at the notion that a reduction of injustice is the same as freedom."

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don't Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance and Beauty: A South Bronx Travelouge; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. She lives in California and is the Aerol Arnold Chair in the University of Southern California English Department.

Rankine will be honored at The Reid Family Writers of Color Reading on Friday April 15, 2016. She will also serve as Guest Editor of CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action for the 2015 - 2016 issues, which will focus on the theme Black Lives Matter.

The Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series is made possible through the generosity of Kenneth and Frances K. Reid and the sponsorship of the Fordham English and African & African American Studies Departments as well as the Creative Writing, American Studies and Comparative Literature Programs.