The Pushkin House Russian Book Prize
Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2018 Winner:
The War Within by Alexis Peri
It’s our pleasure to announce Alexis Peri’s unflinching, elucidating new history of the Siege of Leningrad, The War Within, as the winner of the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2018.
Based on an extraordinary, previously unseen archive of 125 diaries, The War Within chronicles the reality of life for ordinary people during the 872 days of the German blockade of Leningrad like never before. Peri brings to life a tragic, intimate story of one of the most notorious and periods of the Second World War through the vividly told experiences of those who witnessed it first-hand.
Commended as best book in translation: Other Russias by Victoria Lomasko
Additionally, the judges also singled out Other Russias, written by Victoria Lomasko and translated by Thomas Campbell, as the best book in translation for a special subsidiary award. Combining words and sketches, it’s an empathetic, honest, funny, and revelatory portrait of a side of contemporary Russia that is hardly ever seen.
For eight years, graphic artist Victoria Lomasko travelled across Russia, talking to ordinary Russians and drawing their stories; Other Russias is the startling result. Praised by Joe Sacco as ‘a street-level view of the great Russian people [that] masterfully intertwines quiet desperation with open defiance’ Other Russias is an unflinching record of an undiminished people and a nation little-seen by the outside world.
An extraordinary collection of new-found personal testimony, The War Within offers never-before-seen detail about what life was really like for those living through the siege of Leningrad. Drawing on 125 unpublished diaries, historian Alexis Petri uncovers a tragic, deeply personal story of unimaginable suffering. ‘Merciless in their honesty, relentless in their horror’ writes the Times, these voices ‘speak for themselves’ and demand, finally, to be heard.
Oliver Rolin’s chance discovery of an album of letters and drawings led him on the trail of Alexey Wangenheim - a celebrated meteorologist once hailed a hero who ended his days in a frozen gulag. Praised by the Guardian as ‘an all too familiar, yet heartbreaking, story’ Rolin’s book is a moving restoration of ordinary lives swept up in political upheaval and shattered by political extremism.
A century after the Russian Revolution, Yuri Sleskine tells the story of The House of Government, an enormous apartment block where top Communist officials lived before their eviction. Drawing on letters, diaries, and interviews, and featuring hundreds of rare photographs, it weaves together biography, literary criticism, architectural history in the tradition of Tolstoy and Grossman. The result is an unforgettable human saga of a building that, like the Soviet Union itself, became a haunted house, forever disturbed by the ghosts of the disappeared.
Drawing on detailed research, in-depth interviews and documents from the Russian archives, this stands as the definitive biography of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Khrushchev: The Man and his Era. From the decisions of his six years in office to his remarkable marriage, this is a fascinating portrait of a complex, controversial figure whose legacy still resonates today.
Previous Prize Winners