The Prize Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Winner of Winners Award
19 January 2023
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (1799-1837) is Russia's greatest poet - a tragic genius who is revered by Russians as their Shakespeare and Mozart rolled into one. Born in Moscow, literary prodigy Pushkin was expelled from St. Petersburg at the age of twenty as a result of his satirical writings. He remained in internal exile, under the supervision of the Emperor, for the next seven years. Throughout his life he continued to excite official disapproval for his political and religious beliefs - and many love affairs. With his wild passions for gambling and women, Pushkin's brief life was as turbulent and dramatic as anything in his work. In 1828 he married society beauty, Natalya Goncharova, who then captivated the heart of a French cavalry officer. Enraged by this, Pushkin engaged in a duel with him, and died at the age of 37, defending his honour.
What the judges said
“Whilst Pushkin does not translate well into English, Binyon has undertaken a massive task to reveal his genius to us and has written a gripping and intimate account of his life and death”
Pushkin is one of literature's most romantic and intriguing figures and his life and writings have inspired and influenced generations of devotees. This important and long-awaited biography by a leading Russian scholar is the first full length and authoritative account of Pushkin’s life and times since 1937. It is the most detailed account of the poet's life and times yet published. T.J. Binyon tells us his story with perfectly-judged pace, elegant wit, exacting scholarship and deep compassion. After reading Modern Languages at Oxford, Binyon spent some time in the Soviet Union and taught at Leeds University before returning to Oxford, where he lectured on Russian literature. He was Senior Research Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford. He was also the author of two crime novels.