The Dennis & Victoria Ross Foundation, together with The Atlantic, is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 Hitchens Prize is Masha Gessen. The award recognizes Gessen’s long and courageous career as a writer, reporter, teacher, lecturer, translator, and activist. Gessen will be honored with the award, which comes with a $50,000 prize, at a dinner in New York on December 3.
The Hitchens Prize, now in its fourth year, is awarded annually to an author or journalist who, in the spirit of the late Christopher Hitchens, demonstrates a commitment to free expression and to the pursuit of truth without regard to personal or professional consequence. Gessen’s life and work meet that standard in every respect. The previous winners of the award are documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (2015); Washington Post editor Marty Baron (2016); and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter (2017).
In selecting Gessen for the prize, the judging committee noted that running through much of Gessen’s work is an urgent warning against authoritarian impulses, including in democratic countries. Her life testifies to the power of the written and spoken word as a force for justice and human rights, and as a bulwark against those who would constrain them.