Rowan Williams to judge Pushkin House Russian Book Prize

Rowan Williams to judge Pushkin House Russian Book Prize

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is to chair the judging panel for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2014.

The prize, run in association with Waterstones, rewards the best non-fiction writing on Russia and is worth £5,000.

Williams learned Russian in order to read the works of Dostoevsky in the original and was awarded a top Russian honour, the Order of Friendship, in 2010 in recognition of his interest in Russian culture.

Williams, who is now master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, will be joined on the panel by novelist Boris Akunin, broadcaster and journalist Viv Groskop, Catriona Kelly, professor of Russian at Oxford University, and historian Douglas Smith, whose book Former People (Macmillan) won the inaugural prize in 2013.

Dr Williams said: “Russia has fascinated British observers for at least four hundred years, and the culture and history of Russia have had a powerful impact here in all sorts of ways.  We need to keep a critical and informed conversation going between our cultures, and the Pushkin Prize is designed to do just that.  I am very grateful to have the chance of being involved.”

James Daunt, Waterstones’ m.d., said: “The inaugural Pushkin Prize was a tremendous success, attracting a wide and one hopes new readership to a shortlist of great distinction. We eagerly anticipate this second year, all the more so for it being once again in the hands of a judging panel of exceptional calibre.”

Submissions for the 2014 Prize are now open, and full details are available at: www.pushkinhouse.org.uk. The shortlist will be announced in March 2014, with the winner named in May.