Sister Mariella Gable Series

2014 Winner: Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine

Rankine Speaking

Citizen is a collection of essays and prose poems that looks at both overt racism and small daily racist acts Rankine calls microaggresions. Winner of the NAACP Image Award, the L.A. Times Book Prize, a National Book Critic Circle Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award, "Citizen" is now a finalist for the Forward Prize in the United Kingdom. Citizen has also won the PEN Open Book Award. The PEN American Center is dedicated to defending writers and free speech on an international scale.

Claudia Rankine is also the author of Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Plot, The End of the Alphabet, and Nothing in Nature is Private. In 2014, Rankine was awarded the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, which is awarded to an American poet of exceptional talent deserving wider recognition. Rankine co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language. Her work is included in several of the anthologies, such as Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry.


About the Award

Sister Mariella Gable's spirit inspires the College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute serving the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University (LAI) and all of its programs. Dante scholar, poet, editor, writer, and champion of new fiction, the late Sister Mariella Gable was an outstanding English professor who taught at the College of Saint Benedict from 1928-1973. In the Spring of 1984, she produced an essay on the first fifty years of CSB history, "In League with the Future".

She guided many students into lives informed by literature and played an important role in the early careers of such writers as Flannery O'Connor, Betty Wahl, and J.F. Powers. An essay about Sister Mariella and her writings was written by Sister Nancy Hynes for the introduction to Mariella's book, The Literature of Spiritual Values and Catholic Fiction.

The Sister Mariella Gable Award is given each year by the College of Saint Benedict for an important work of literature published by Graywolf Press. Graywolf Press, described by Ploughshares magazine as, "arguably the best small press in the country," and LAI have formed an innovative collaboration to explore new ways of promoting the literary arts on campus, to audiences in the surrounding area, and in the Twin Cities.

Past Winners

Includes titles by Ru Freeman, Deborah Baker, Binyavanga Wainaina, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Linda Gregg, Tracy K. Smith, Nurruddin Farah, Clint McCown, Joe Coomer, Judith Kitchen, and Victoria Redel.