A “strong” shortlist for the inaugural Pushkin House Russian Book Prize, in association with Waterstones, has been revealed.
In contention for the £5,000 award are: Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen (Granta); Wheel of Fortune: The Battle for Oil and Fortune in Russia by Thane Gustafson (Harvard University Press/Belknap); Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s Post War Generation by Donald J Raleigh (Oxford University Press); Moscow, 1937 by Karl Schlögel (Polity); Former People: The Last Days of Russia’s Aristocracy by Douglas Smith (Macmillan) and The Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum (Allen Lane)
The judges, including former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Rodric Braithwaite, Lord Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at Warwick University, Rachel Polonsky, lecturer in the department of Slavonic Studies at Cambridge University, A D Miller, economist journalist and author of the Man Booker shortlisted Snowdrops, and Dmitri Trenin, director of The Carnegie Moscow Center, selected the titles from over 40 entries.
The prize is open to popular non-fiction on Russia published by a UK publisher in 2012, and was established to further public understanding of the Russian-speaking world.
Andrew Jack, journalist at the Financial Times and co-chairman of Pushkin House, said the next challenge was to “get more Russian-written books into English".
He said: “We are excited to have such a strong shortlist in the first year of the Pushkin Prize, selected by world class judges. It shows the extent of vibrant writing on the Russian speaking world which can help promote mutual understanding.”
The winner of the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize will be announced at the Hay Festival on Wednesday 29th May at 6pm.
Photo (l-r) Sir Rodric Braithwaite (chair of the judges and former ambassador to Moscow), Ion Trewin (on the advisory board for the prize) and Andrew Jack (chairman of Pushkin House)