Congratulations! Claudia Rankine Wins National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry!


March 12, 2015—Graywolf Press is pleased to announce that Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine has been selected as the winner of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetryCitizen was also a finalist in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee. The winners were announced during an evening ceremony at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York City.


Jeffrey Shotts, Executive Editor at Graywolf Press, attended the ceremony. “Claudia Rankine’s double nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Awards was historic,” he said. “That her book, Citizen, has gone on to win one of them is remarkable. Citizen is becoming that truly unique kind of book: a defining text for our time. Graywolf is immensely proud to be Claudia’s publisher, and to celebrate the achievement that this award represents.”


Through poetry, essay, cultural criticism, and visual images, Claudia Rankine explores what it means to be an American citizen in a “post-racial” society. Citizen was published in October 2014 to wide acclaim, and went on to be a National Book Award finalist, a New York Times best seller, and an NAACP Image Award winner. The New YorkerBoston Globe, the Atlantic, NPR, Los Angeles TimesSlate, and many other publications named Citizen one of the best books of the year.

Previous Graywolf titles to win the NBCC Award in their respective categories include Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys by D. A. Powell; Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews by Geoff DyerNotes from No Man’s Land: American Essays by Eula Biss; and Elegy by Mary Jo Bang. Two additional Graywolf books were finalists alongside Citizen in this year’s criticism category: On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss, and Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty by Vikram Chandra.


Claudia Rankine is the author of four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. She currently serves as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Pomona College in California.


The National Book Critics Circle is a not-for-profit organization of book editors and critics with some 600 members nationwide. The organization was founded in 1974 to encourage and raise the quality of book criticism in all media and to create a way for critics to communicate with one another about their professional concerns (