Masha Gessen: In-Person & Online

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Masha Gessen: In-Person & Online

Monday, April 17, 2023 7:30 pm PST

04/17/2023 7:30 pm 04/17/2023 America/Los_Angeles Masha Gessen: In-Person & Online https://lectures.org/event/masha-gessen/ Town Hall Seattle—The Great Hall

At Town Hall Seattle—The Great Hall

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In Person & Online

A trenchant observer of democracy, Masha Gessen is the author of twelve books, including the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and Surviving Autocracy. Their coverage of current political unfoldings in Russia, LGBTQ+ rights, and the rise of autocratic leaders appears regularly in the pages of The New Yorker and the New York Times.

Gessen’s latest book, Surviving Autocracy, is a bracing overview of the calamitous trajectory of American democracy under the Trump administration. In the run-up to the 2016 election, they stood out from other journalists for the ability to convey the ominous significance of Donald Trump’s behavior, unprecedented in a national candidate.

Within forty-eight hours of his victory, the essay “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” had gone viral, and Gessen’s coverage of his norm-smashing presidency became essential reading for a citizenry struggling to wrap their heads around the unimaginable. Highlighting not only the corrosion of the media, the judiciary, and the cultural norms they hoped would save them, Gessen also illuminates how a short few years have changed Americans from a people who saw themselves as a nation of immigrants to a populace haggling over a border wall, heirs to a degraded sense of truth, meaning, and possibility.

Gessen’s understanding of the events and forces that have wracked Russia in recent times is unparalleled. In the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History, Gessen follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own—as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings.

The Washington Post described The Future Is History as “ambitious, timely, insightful and unsparing.” The book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was awarded the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

The Man Without a Face, a New York Times bestseller, is the chilling account of how a low-level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to his own people and to the world. As a journalist living in Moscow, Gessen has experienced this history firsthand, prompting The Wall Street Journal to praise, “In a country where journalists critical of the government have a way of meeting untimely deaths, Gessen has shown remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia.”

In Words Will Break Cement (2014), Gessen investigates the activism of the artists known as Pussy Riot, who resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies.

On a parallel track, Gessen has been a science journalist, covering AIDS, medical genetics, and mathematics. Their 2008 book Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene explores the way genetic information is shaping the decisions we make—not only about our physical and emotional health but about whom we marry, the children we bear, even the personality traits we long to have.

Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century is “an engrossing examination of an enigmatic genius” (Kirkus), that pulls back the curtain on an elusive Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman. Famously, Gessen was dismissed as editor of the Russian popular-science magazine Vokrug Sveta for refusing to send a reporter to observe Putin hang-gliding with Siberian cranes.

A regular contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, and Slate, among other publications, Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker. They have taught at Amherst and Oberlin Colleges and currently serve on the faculty at Bard College. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, a Nieman Fellowship, the Hitchens Prize, and the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Commentary, Gessen has lived in New York since 2013 after more than twenty years as a journalist and editor in Moscow.

Event Details

Town Hall Seattle—The Great Hall

1119 8th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Know Before You Go

COVID-19 Policies

The safety of our patrons, artists, community partners, staff, and volunteers continues to be important to us. At this time, facial masks are encouraged but not required for entry, and proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test is no longer required. However, health and safety protocols are subject to change. Before attending events, please check your pre-event email for the most up-to-date information.

Can't find your tickets?

All tickets have been emailed for this event, so be sure to check your inbox for an email from boxoffice@lectures.org. Call us at 206-621-2230 x10 if you can’t find them.

For in-person attendance: Your e-tickets come attached in a PDF with your ticket order confirmation email. Present on your mobile device or bring your printed ticket to the venue the night of the event. Check your pre-event email for details on COVID safety precautions.

For online attendance: If you purchased a digital pass, SAL will send a pre-event reminder email with instructions to log in and access the online stream two days before the event. The night of your event, return to lectures.org/event/masha-gessen and enter the password where prompted. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and will be available for viewing for a week after the event.

SAL will also send an email the day of the event, containing the same information. If you have opted out of receiving SAL emails, you will miss this important information—please email us at boxoffice@lectures.org and we will assist you.

Have a question for the speaker?

Want to ask the author something? Send your question to SAL at sal@lectures.org—it might be asked onstage!

Books

Our partner bookstore will have books available for purchase at their table in the lobby and on their website.

Patrons & Grand Patrons, Have a Drink on SAL!

Patron & Grand Patron seating includes a pre-event drink ticket! Check your pre-event email for details.

Transportation & Parking

Town Hall Seattle is centrally located at 1119 8th Ave, on the corner of 8th and Seneca. Their venue is served by frequent bus routes, is near access to light rail stations, and close to a number of parking options nearby. Please see their website for more details.

Accessibility

Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing losses, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. To make a request for open captioning, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10. Please note: for in-person events at Town Hall Seattle, we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure captioning services. 

Closed Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where captioning displays the words that are spoken or sung at the bottom of the video for online events. Captioning is available for all online events; click the “CC” button to view captions during the event.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Town Hall Seattle has a hearing loop system, so you can switch your T-coil hearing aid to telecoil to have the stage’s microphones transmitted directly to your hearing aids. To pick up a headset, check in with any Town Hall usher when you arrive.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at Town Hall Seattle, which is fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Town Hall Seattle recommends that visitors use the 8th Avenue Entrance for events in the Great Hall, and elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. The venue has all-gender, ADA-accessible restrooms on the lobby and Forum level. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on accessibility features at Town Hall, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

All-gender restrooms are available.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at boxoffice@lectures.org, or Monday-Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to lectures.org/accessibility. If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.