The NYPL Podcast
Masha Gessen and The Stories of a Life: The NYPL Podcast Ep. 196
The New York Public Library Podcast features your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers in smart talks and provocative conversations. Listen to some of our most engaging programs, discover new ideas, and celebrate the best of today’s culture.
On this week's episode, journalist Masha Gessen delivers the Library's Robert B. Silvers lecture, which was created by Max Palevsky and named in honor of the the co-founding editor of The New York Review of Books. Silvers founded the magazine in 1963 with Barbara Epstein and ran it solely after her death in 2006; he died in March of last year at the age of eighty-seven. In 2015 The New York Public Library acquired the archives of The New York Review of Books. Silvers also sat on the Library’s Board of Trustees and was named a Library Lion in 2014. Gessen joins a list of writers including Joan Didion, Paul Krugman, Mary Beard, and Derek Walcott, who, since 2002, have delivered this annual lecture.
Masha Gessen is a contributing op-ed writer at the New York Times, and a frequent contributor to, among others, The New York Review of Books. She won the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction for her most recent book The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia. Perhaps best known for her political criticism, both of Putin's Russia and Trump's America, Gessen's lecture was unexpectedly intimate and personal, tracing the story of her own life as a sequence of choices and exploring how notions of choice affect ideas about immigration, identity, and purpose.
Looking for the books and authors Masha Gessen mentioned during her lecture? They're all available from NYPL:
- Speak, Memory, by Vladimir Nabokov
- Svetlana Boym
- Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, by Suketu Mehta
- Escape from Freedom, by Erich Fromm
- Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace, by Masha Gessen
- Blood matters: from Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene, by Masha Gessen
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