Fellow: Awarded 2019
Field of Study: Translation
Competition: US & Canada
Douglas Smith is a historian and translator and the author of six books on Russia. His works have been translated into a dozen languages. He studied German and Russian at the University of Vermont and has a doctorate in history from UCLA.
His book Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy (2012) was a bestseller in the U.K. It won the inaugural Pushkin House Russian Book Prize, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was chosen Book of the Year by Andrew Solomon in Salon. In 2016, Douglas published Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs, which was a finalist for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. His latest book, The Russian Job: The Forgotten Story of How America Saved the Soviet Union from Ruin, is forthcoming in autumn 2019.
Before becoming a full-time historian, Douglas served in the U.S. State Department in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and worked as a Soviet affairs analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich.
As a Guggenheim fellow, Douglas will be working on a new, abridged translation of Konstantin Paustovsky’s memoir Повесть о жизни (The Story of a Life), one of the great but little known Russian literary works of the past century, hailed by Isaac Bashevis Singer as “a masterpiece.” His translation will be published by Vintage Classics.
Profile photograph by Robert Wade