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Visiting Writers' Series LibGuide: Masha Gessen

“No one is easier to manipulate than a man who exaggerates his own influence.”

- Masha Gessen, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

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More About Masha Gessen

One of our most trenchant observers of democracy, Masha Gessen is the author of 11 books, including the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. A staff writer at The New Yorker, they have covered political subjects including Russia, L.G.B.T. rights, Vladamir Putin, Donald Trump, and the rise of autocracy, among others.Gessen’s latest book, Surviving Autocracy, is a bracing overview of the calamitous trajectory of American democracy under the Trump Administration. The book garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist. Gessen’s understanding of the events and forces that have wracked Russia in recent times is unparalleled and fully evident in the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History. The Washington Post described it as “ambitious, timely, insightful and unsparing.” The book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was awarded the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The Man Without a Face, a New York Times bestseller, is a chilling account of how a low-level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to his own people and to the world.

As a journalist living in Moscow, Gessen has experienced this history firsthand, prompting The Wall Street Journal to praise, “In a country where journalists critical of the government have a way of meeting untimely deaths, Gessen has shown remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most popular man in Russia.” Masha Gessen has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, and Slate, among other publications. Gessen served as a trustee and vice president of PEN America and was the advisor to and inspiration for PEN America’s Russian Independent Media Archive, a digital archive focused on preserving the last two decades of independent Russian journalism. Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker. They have taught at Amherst, Oberlin, and Bard Colleges and in Fall 2023 joined the faculty at Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY as their first Distinguished Professor. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, a Nieman Fellowship, the Hitchens Prize, and the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Commentary, Gessen has lived in New York since 2013 after more than 20 years as a journalist and editor in Moscow.

via Butler University's Visiting Writer's Series

Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. A Guggenheim is an award given to 175 people every year and consists of funds given to writers to enable them to pursue their projects. This is a very prestigious honor!

Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2015. This fellowship is awarded with the intent to provide support for scholars, authors, journalists, and more to explore political polarization through the lens of modern issues facing society.

Nieman Fellowship in 2004. This fellowship is awarded through Harvard with a special focus on supporting journalists through doing research.

Hitchen's Prize. This award is given out yearly to journalists who are pushing the envelope with their commitment to their research, selflessness, and storytelling. 

National Book Award Winning Journalist. These awards exist to highlight the best books published in America in any given year. (The author receiving an award in the picture on the website is Masha Gessen!)


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Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937

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