- By Alicia P.Q. WittmeyerAlicia P.Q. Wittmeyer is the Europe editor at Foreign Policy. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Forbes, among other places. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and master’s degrees from Peking University and the London School of Economics. The P.Q. stands for Ping-Quon.
Every year, Foreign Policy partners with the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto to sponsor the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the year’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs. The winner is due to be announced at the end of the month, and over the next week, FP will be featuring interviews with this year’s finalists.
The nominees are a diverse bunch, ranging from Evan Osnos’ National Book Award-winning book, Age of Ambition, an account of the lives of ordinary young people in a rapidly changing China, and Lawrence Wright’s dramatic recounting of the two weeks that — temporarily — brought peace to the Middle East in Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David.
The full list of finalists:
- Jack Fairweather (Istanbul, Turkey) for The Good War: Why We Couldn’t Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan, published by Basic Books
- Evan Osnos (Washington, DC) for Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Serhii Plokhy (Arlington, Massachusetts) for The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union published by Basic Books
- Ari Shavit (Kfar Shmariahu) for My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, published by Scribe Publications
- Lawrence Wright (Austin, Texas) for Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, published by Alfred A. Knopf
Today’s podcast will feature an interview with Osnos, conducted by Rob Steiner, a former Wall Street Journal correspondent and director of fellowships in international journalism at the Munk School. See the jury citation for Age of Ambition below:
Evan Osnos transcends politics in China to focus on the lives of Deng Xiaoping’s ‘offspring generation’, young people growing up in the hectic, disorienting world of China’s economic miracle. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China is a compelling portrait of optimism, materialism, innocence, and confusion among hundreds of millions of China’s future leaders, a human work-in-progress brilliantly and intimately described.
Listen to the interview here: