Photo Credits: Rachel Campbell-Johnston courtesy of Times Newspaper Ltd and Andrei Zorin portrait by Jonathan Cairns

Photo Credits: Rachel Campbell-Johnston courtesy of Times Newspaper Ltd and Andrei Zorin portrait by Jonathan Cairns



Pushkin House, London’s leading independent Russian cultural centre, is pleased to announce the launch of its 2019 Russian book prize with a distinguished panel of judges. Submissions are now open for the competition, which awards £5,000 to the winning author of the best non-fiction book on the Russian-speaking world accessible to the general reader and first published in English during 2018.

The jurors are:

Sergei Guriev - 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

Andrei Zorin - Professor of Russian at Oxford University and a fellow of New College.

Now in its seventh year, the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize rewards the very best non-fiction writing in English that promotes 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 and the London Russian Book Club.

Sergei Guriev, chair of the 2019 judges, said: “It is an honour to serve on the jury of the prestigious Pushkin House Prize. It is also a great pleasure - and a great challenge - as 2018 was an especially strong year for the non-fiction books on the past, present and future of the Russian-speaking world. I very much look forward to reading these books and the jury’s deliberations on selecting the winner."  

Douglas Smith, author and winner of the inaugural Pushkin House Russian book prize award in 2013, said: “Stephanie and I are thrilled to once again support the Pushkin Prize. We congratulate this year’s winners and appreciate the level of excellence their writing exhibits."  

Marc Polonsky, Managing Trustee of The Polonsky Foundation, said: "For the third year we are pleased to support Pushkin House in its good work of presenting Russian culture. The Book Prize has done much to further understanding of the Russian-speaking world and of the complex realities of Russia's past and present.”

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Submissions for the Prize by authors and publishers are open until 31 December 2018, and full details are available at: A shortlist will be announced in spring 2019 and the winner in June.

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 (Yale) and Alexis Peri for The War Within (Harvard University Press).

The advisory board for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize comprises:

·  Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former British ambassador to Moscow and author of Afgantsy

·  Andrew Jack (chair), chairman emeritus, Pushkin House, and journalist at the Financial Times

·  Bridget Kendall, Master of Peterhouse, 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 Pushkin House Russian book prize

For further information please contact Rebecca Ostrovksy at  +44 20 7269 9770.      

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