Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen

Current Fellow

Fellow: Awarded 2017

Field of Study: General Nonfiction

Competition: US & Canada

Masha Gessen is a journalist and the author of ten books of nonfiction, most recently The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, to be published in October 2017. She is also the author of the national bestseller The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin (2012). She is a contributing opinion writer to The New York Times and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, among other publications. She has received numerous awards, including a Carnegie Millennial Fellowship (2015-2016), a Nieman Fellowship (2003-2004), and the 2017 Overseas Press Club Award for Best Commentary. She serves as vice-president of PEN America.

Gessen was born in Moscow and immigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1981, at the age of 14. She returned to Moscow as a correspondent ten years later and stayed, becoming a Russian-language journalist in addition to her work for American magazines. She re-immigrated to the United States in 2013, after her family was targeted by Putin’s antigay campaign. She lives in New York City.

While a Guggenheim Fellow, Gessen will be writing a book tentatively titled How to Destroy a Democracy: Five Lessons in Imagining the Worst and Some Notes on Resistance.