Pushkin House 10th Annual Book Award Shortlists Ten Books

Each year, the Pushkin House in London awards a prize to the best non-fiction book about or from the Russian-speaking world published in English. Over the past few years, they’ve vetted the dozens, if not hundreds, of contenders for a short list of six books for their jury to read, discuss and vote on.

But this year is different. It is a year of war and Russian aggression – and if not of nullification of Russian culture, perhaps of turning the public gaze to other nations.

But Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist studying Russia and a judge for the 2022 prize, considers the prize and the recognized books to be important. “In one of the darkest years of post-war world history, I believe it is particularly honorable for the Pushkin House to continue to reward careful study and in-depth study of Russian history. , societal development and culture that are both fundamental and accessible,” she said. “The Pushkin House Book Prize is true to its mission to foster and encourage a deeper understanding of the immense complexity of cultures inside and outside of Russia.”

And because this year marks the 10th anniversary of the award, there are ten shortlisted books instead of the traditional six. They range from a study of life on the Russian-Chinese border to the dangers of climate change and an English doctor at the court of Catherine the Great.

The pre-selected titles in 2022 are:

  • “On the Edge: Life Along the Russian-Chinese Border” by Frank Billie and Caroline Humphrey
  • “Navalny: Putin’s sworn enemy, Russia’s future?” by Jan Matti Dollbaum, Ben Noble and Morvan Lallouet
  • “The Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin’s Russia” by Timothy Frye
  • “Klimat: Russian in the Age of Climate Change” by Thane Gustafson
  • “Not an Inch: America, Russia, and the Creation of the Post-Cold War Standoff” by Mary Sarotte
  • “In Memory of Memory” by Maria Stepanova
  • “Stalin’s Architect: Power and Survival in Moscow” by Deyan Sudjic
  • “The Empress and the English Doctor: How Catherine the Great Defied a Deadly Virus” by Lucy Ward
  • “Playing with Fire: The Story of Maria Yudina, Pianist in Stalin’s Russia” by Elizabeth Wilson
  • “Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union” by Vladislav Zubok

The books will be examined by a jury of six specialists in various aspects of Russian history, culture, society and political life: Evgenia Arbugaevaaward-winning photographer, member of the National Geographic Society Storytelling; Archie BrownEmeritus Professor of Politics at Oxford University and author of numerous books including “The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan and Thatcher and the End of the Cold War”, winner of the 2021 Pushkin House Book Prize; Dmitry Glukhovskymultilingual journalist and author of the cult sci-fi series “Metro” and the critically acclaimed “Text”; Catherine Schulman, associate professor at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and political commentator; and Baroness Deborah Bullwriter, broadcaster, cultural commentator and Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords and Vice-Chancellor of King’s College London.

The winner of the 2022 Pushkin Book Prize will be announced at a special ceremony in London on September 28.

The annual prize was founded in 2013 and has a monetary award of £10,000. It is made possible thanks to the contributions of Douglas Smith and Stephanie Ellis-Smith, and the Polonsky Foundation.

The Pushkin House is an independent cultural center founded in 1954 by a group of Russian emigrants and British Russophiles. It has always been an apolitical organization that has hosted events that represent all opinions 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 questions of decolonization and the ideologically charged legacy of Russian culture today, particularly in the light of current events in Ukraine”.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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