Six highly readable books covering history, politics and memoir written by authors from the UK, the US and Germany were today (Thursday, April 25, 2019) shortlisted for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2019. The award supports the best non-fiction writing in English on the Russian-speaking world, selected by a panel of distinguished judges.

For the second time in the history of the prize, the shortlist was announced in Russia, at a press conference in Moscow hosted by the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre.

Sergei Guriev, chair of the judges, said: "After a long debate we have made very tough choices and arrived at a shortlist of six books which are not only informative and relevant but are also a joy to read. They are very diverse and representative of over 50 excellent eligible submissions, including books on history, culture, espionage, Cold War and recent political developments. I am looking forward to more fierce discussions to select the overall winner.”

Douglas Smith and Stephanie Ellis-Smith, co-funders of the prize, said: “Congratulations to the authors selected for the shortlist of this year‘s Pushkin Prize. It’s such an honour and privilege for us to be a part of this process, and we very much look forward to celebrating the winner in June.”

Marc Polonsky, managing trustee of the Polonsky Foundation, which also funds the prize, said: "The shortlist for the Pushkin House Book Prize has again demonstrated the calibre and variety of contemporary writing about Russia. Congratulations to those who have been selected so far from such a competitive field."

The 2019 shortlisted titles are:  

  • Maybe Esther by Katja Petrowskaja, translated from German by Shelley Frisch (4th Estate)

The panel of judges for the 2019 Pushkin House Russian Book Prize comprises: Sergei Guriev (chair), Chief Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Professor of Economics at Sciences Po Paris (chair); Rachel Campbell-Johnston, Chief Art Critic, The Times; Alexander Drozdov, Executive Director of the Yeltsin Presidential Centre, Ekaterinberg; Alexis Peri, Assistant Professor at Boston University and winner of the 2018 Pushkin House Book Prize; and Andrei Zorin, Professor of Russian at Oxford University and a fellow of New College.

The award was established in 2012 to encourage public understanding and intelligent debate about the Russian-speaking world.

The Pushkin Prize is generously supported by Douglas Smith and Stephanie Ellis-Smith and the Polonsky Foundation. In 2019 the London Russian Book Club joined as an additional partner.

For further press information, author and jacket images, and interview requests please contact Rebecca.Ostrovsky@pushkinhouse.org.uk.

The winner of the 2019 Prize will be announced on Wednesday 12th June at a dinner hosted by Pushkin House, the home of Russian culture in London, and will receive £5,000. The dinner will be held at the Charterhouse, London, EC1.

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