The nominees for the National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced this week, and a few prominent writers of color made the short list. Jamaican-American poet Claudia Rankine was nominated for her collection “Citizen: An American Lyric;” Korean-American novelist Chang-rae Lee was nominated for his latest book, “On Such a Full Sea;” and Guatemalan-American journalist Hector Tobar was nominated for his book, “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free.”
Other books of note that earned nominations: Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” and Marilynne Robinson’s novel “Lila.”
Dan Chiasson of the New Yorker wrote about the importance of Rankine’s “Citizen,” which was also a finalist for a National Book Award late last year. “’Citizen’ is about the grownup ways in which this childhood scene gets replayed, the white cheat always backed by white institutions,” Chiasson wrote. “It is an especially vital book for this moment in time. While the book was in press, Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri; as I write this, hundreds of people are marching in protest there, engaging in civil disobedience and offering themselves up for arrest.