Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen is a journalist and the author of numerous books, including The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, which won the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction. 

As a journalist and editor in Russia for more than 20 years, Gessen experienced the rise of Vladimir Putin firsthand. In addition to writings on Russia, autocracy, and LGBT rights, Gessen has been a science journalist, writing about AIDS, medical genetics, and mathematics. Famously, Gessen was dismissed as editor of the Russian popular-science magazine Vokrug Sveta for refusing to send a reporter to observe Putin hang-gliding with the Siberian cranes. 

A staff writer for The New Yorker who regularly contributes to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s and The New York Review of Books, Gessen is the author of nine books, including Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot; Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region; and The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. 

Gessen is a visiting professor at Amherst College and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, a Nieman Fellowship, and the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Commentary.