The Wheeler Centre
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In her 2014 book, Words Will Break Cement, Masha Gessen wrote: ‘to create, and to confront, one has to be an outcast.’ The book was about Russian feminist activists Pussy Riot, but themes of alienation and confrontation have coloured much of Gessen’s work and life.
A prolific journalist in both Russia and the United States, Gessen is Russia’s leading LGBT activist and a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin. Gessen is perhaps best known in the English-speaking world for shedding light, and providing astute analysis, on international headline-making stories from Russia – such as the emergence of Pussy Riot and controversies around the Sochi Winter Olympics.
In her new book, The Tsarnaev Brothers, Gessen turns her attention to traumatic events that have taken place on the soil of her adopted home. The book tells the story of the Boston bombers, and explores the theme of split identity in immigrant America, as well as the disastrous consequences of social dislocation.
In conversation with Maxine Beneba Clarke, Gessen talks about immigrant identity, activism and an extraordinary career in journalism.