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Pushkin House Announces Short List for 2023 Book Prize

The Pushkin House Book Prize is celebrating its 11th awards year with six shortlisted books that represent a wide range of scholarship — and memories —about Russia, past and present.

Every year a panel of distinguished judges considers dozens of books about or from Russia in every field imaginable, from art to war, from politics to memoirs, from studies of the earliest periods in pre-Russian history to what is happening right at this moment.

This year the shortlisted books are truly wide-ranging:

  • Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia by Natasha Lance Rogoff
  • Overreach: The Inside Story of Putin and Russia’s War Against Ukraine by Owen Matthews
  • Russia’s War by Jade McGlynn
  • Places of Tenderness and Heat: The Queer Milieu of Fin-de-Siècle St. Petersburg by Olga Petri
  • Cigarettes and Soviets: Smoking in the USSR (NIU Series in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) by Tricia Starks
  • Red Leviathan: The Secret History of Soviet Whaling by Ryan Tucker Jones

The judges this year are scholars, writers, commentators and a film director who together are a collective font of knowledge and experience: Philip Bullock, a professor of Russian Literature and Music at the University of Oxford; prize-winning author and activist Masha Gessen, staff writer at The New Yorker and professor of writing at Bard College; Ekaterina Schulmann, renowned political commentator and Bosch Academy Richard von Weizsäcker fellow; Alexander Rodnyansky, Ukrainian film producer and director, Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner; and Mary Elise Sarotte, professor and foreign policy expert, the winner of the 2022 Pushkin House Book Prize for “Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate.”  

The winner of the 2023 Prize will be announced during the award ceremony at Pushkin House in London on June 15, 2023. Tickets to the ceremony are available to be purchased here.

All the nominated books will be featured in The Moscow Times long reads. One book, “Russia’s War” by Jade McGlynn, has already been excerpted here.

The Pushkin House is an independent cultural center founded in 1954 by a group of Russian emigres and British Russophiles. It has always been a non-political organization that has been a venue for events that represent all variety of views about Russia and Russian culture, past, present and future. Today they are “committed to raising important and sometimes uncomfortable questions about Russia’s past and present, including issues of decolonization and the ideologically charged legacy of Russian culture today, particularly in light of current events in Ukraine.”

The annual Pushkin House Book Prize was founded in 2013 and carries a monetary award of £10,000. It is made possible by contributions from Douglas Smith and Stephanie Ellis-Smith, and The Polonsky Foundation.

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