Serhii Plokhy receiving the 2019 Pushkin House Book Prize for Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy

Serhii Plokhy receiving the 2019 Pushkin House Book Prize for Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy

The Pushkin House Russian Book Prize rewards the very best non-fiction writing on Russia.  Worth £5,000 to the winner, the Prize was created to encourage public understanding and intelligent debate about the Russian-speaking world.  The prize is for a book published in English, but translations from other languages, including of course Russian, are encouraged and actively sought. A subsidiary prize for the Best Book in Translation, worth £2,000, is shared between the author and translator(s).

The Pushkin Prize is generously supported by Douglas Smith (author and winner of the inaugural award in 2013) and Stephanie Ellis-Smith and the Polonsky Foundation and in 2019 we welcomed the London Russian Book Club as an additional sponsor.

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The previous winners are Douglas Smith for Former People: the Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy (Macmillan); Catherine Merridale for Red Fortress: The Secret Heart of Russia’s History (Allen Lane); Serhii Plokhii for The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union (Oneworld); Dominic Lieven for Towards the Flame (Penguin);  Rosalind Blakesley for The Russian Canvas: Painting in Imperial Russia, 1757-1881 (Yale University Press); Alexis Peri for The War Within: Diaries From the Siege of Leningrad (Harvard University Press); and Serhii Plokhy for Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy (Penguin).


31 December 2019 - deadline for submissions

April 2020 - shortlist announced

June 2020 - winner announcement, awards dinner and ceremony

The advisory board for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize is made up of:

Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former British ambassador to Moscow and author of Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89

Andrew Jack (chair), former Co-Chairman of Pushkin House, and journalist at the Financial Times

Bridget Kendall, Master, Peterhouse College, Cambridge University

Andrew Nurnberg, Managing Director, Andrew Nurnberg Associates literary agency

Marc Polonsky, trustee, The Polonsky Foundation

Douglas Smith, historian, translator, author and winner of the 2013 (inaugural) Pushkin House prize


Information partners

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If you have any questions about the Prize, please email:

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