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hear Masha Gessen speak ! (FREE)

Author/Journalist Masha Gessen will be speaking about her new book, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot . Her new book is about the imprisoned Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot (the first book on this subject in English). She's done a lot of reporting from the Pussy Riot trial in August 2011 and also from the penal colonies where two of the women are still held. Masha Gessen is a prominent Russian-American journalist who publishes predominantly in English. She is the author of, most recently, A Man Without a Face - an award-winning and decidedly unauthorized biography of Vladimir Putin. Her other books include a half dozen titles including a number of books and articles about the Russian Jewish Experience, particularly Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace and Blood Matters -- a book on BRCA1 gene and the attendant exploration of Ashkenazi Jewish genetics. Gessen is also Russia's most prominent LGBT activist who has written extensively on LGBT issues in Russia. Gessen immigrated to the US with her family in the early 1980s, started her journalism career in the late 80s covering the AIDS epidemic and ACT-UP activism, moved back to Russia in 1991 - reported from Chechnya and other challenging places, and just recently re-immigrated to the United States after Russia passed a slew of homophobic laws (some thought to be aimed specifically at her and her family). During this recent re-immigration, Gessen has compared her current experience of leaving Russia as a gay person to the experience of leaving the Soviet Union for the first time as a Jew.

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