Claudia Rankine, poet

Claudia Rankine, poet

By BBC Radio 4

Claudia Rankine is a poet, essayist and playwright. She is best known for her book Citizen: An American Lyric which combines short stories about everyday injustices experienced by people of colour with poems telling the stories of black men who died during confrontations with the police. The book won several awards in the US and the UK’s Forward Prize for best collection in 2015.

Claudia was born in Kingston, Jamaica and at seven followed her parents to New York City where they had emigrated some years before. After graduating from university in 1993, she won a poetry prize for her thesis which became her first book – Nothing in Nature is Private.

In addition to her poetry Claudia has written three plays and has taught at several universities including Yale and New York University. In 2016 she won a prestigious ‘Genius Grant’ from the MacArthur Fellowship which celebrates intellectual and artistic achievement and awards its winners hundreds of thousands of dollars. She used the money to co-found the Racial Imaginary Institute which interrogates notions of race and whiteness.

Claudia lives in Connecticut with her husband, the photographer and filmmaker John Lucas.

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Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

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