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Rachel Polonsky wins Dolman award

8th July 2011

Rachel Polonsky has won the 2011 Dolman Best Travel Book Award for Molotov's Magic Lantern: A Journal in Russian History.

The prize, which is worth GBP 2,500, is the only travel book award in the UK open to anyone, and each year is given to an author who successfully takes travel writing 'in a new direction'.

Molotov's Magic Lantern is Polonsky's account of how she left behind a Cambridge fellowship in Russian literature in the 1990s and moved to an apartment in Moscow, where she unearthed a number of secret documents belonging to the former Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

Giles Foden, chair of the judging panel, said defining genres is always a 'tricky business', particularly where travel writing is concerned.

'It was a difficult decision, but the book we thought best balanced both the traditions of travel writing and new directions it may take was Rachel Polonsky's,' he added.

Foden said the book was a worthy winner and 'opens a door on the secrets of Russian culture past and present'.

Last year's Dolman Best Travel Book Award was won by Ian Thomson for The Dead Yard, his account of life in present-day Jamaica.

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