November 9th, 2015
Episode 1047 of 1236 episodes
This year's Free Thinking Lecture is given by the American poet Claudia Rankine. Her book 'Citizen: An American Lyric' is a New York Times best seller and has become an instant classic. At one of the most volatile moments in American race history, her meditations on the language used to describe tennis star Serena Williams and on events such as the Ferguson riots and the shooting of the teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida provide the vehicle for an incisive interrogation of justice and injustice, exposing the myth of a 'post-racial' 21st century. A professor of English at the University of Southern California and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Claudia Rankine grew up first in Kingston Jamaica and then New York City and has also lived in England. 'Citizen' has been called 'the book of a generation' and one which 'throws a Molotov cocktail' at the idea that the struggle against racial injustice has been won. The winner of this year's Forward Prize for Poetry, the PEN Open Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes to Sage Gateshead to talk to Free Thinking presenter Matthew Sweet about the power of language and what it means to be black in the new millennium. Recorded in front of an audience at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead.