Owen Matthews

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Owen Matthews (born 1971) is a British writer, historian and journalist. His first book, Stalin's Children, was shortlisted for the 2008 Guardian First Books Award,[1] the Orwell Prize for political writing,[2] and France's Prix Medicis Etranger[3] His books have been translated into 28 languages. He is a former Moscow and Istanbul Bureau Chief for Newsweek Magazine. Matthews has lectured on Russian history and politics at Columbia University's Harriman Centre,[4] St Antony's College Oxford,[5] and the Journalism Faculty of Moscow State University.


Owen Matthews was born in London in 1971. He was educated at Westminster School and studied Modern History at Christ Church, Oxford.[6]


During the Bosnian War, Matthews worked as a foreign correspondent in Budapest, Sarajevo and Belgrade.[6][7] From 1995–7 he worked as a reporter on The Moscow Times. In 1997 he joined Newsweek Magazine's Moscow Bureau as a correspondent, covering the Second Chechen war. In 2001 he moved to Turkey, reporting from Turkey, the Caucasus, Syria and Iran, and also covering the invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq.[6][8] From 2006 to 2012 he was Newsweek's Moscow Bureau Chief; he is now a Contributing Editor at the magazine.[6]


  • Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love and War (Bloomsbury, 2008), a memoir of three generations of Matthews' family in Russia, was named as a Book of the Year by The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph.[9][10]
  • Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of Russian America (Bloomsbury 2013), a history of Imperial Russia's doomed attempt to colonise America, was shortlisted for the 2014 Pushkin House Prize[11] for books on Russia.[12][13][14][15]
  • Moscou Babylone (Les Escales, 2013), a novel based on Matthews' experiences in Moscow in the 1990s, has been published in French,[16] German[17] and Czech. It was chosen as the 'coup de coeur etranger' (favourite foreign book) at the 2013 Nancy Literary Festival, Le Livre sur la Place.[18]
  • Thinking with the Blood (Newsweek, 2014), a personal reportage based on a journey across war-torn Ukraine in the late summer of 2014, was published as an ebook.[citation needed]
  • An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin's Master Agent (Bloomsbury, 2019)[19]


Matthews co-wrote the 2015 Russian television series Londongrad and played an episodic role in it.[20]


  1. ^ "Guardian First Book award". The Guardian.
  2. ^ http://theorwellprize.co.uk/shortlists/owen-matthews/
  3. ^ "Prix Médicis 2009". alalettre.com.
  4. ^ "Book Talk: "Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America"". columbia.edu.
  5. ^ "Events". University of Oxford.
  6. ^ a b c d "Owen Matthews". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Dining With the Author: Dangerous Misadventures With Owen Matthews". HuffPost. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Owen Matthews". Journalisted. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  9. ^ Simon Callow. "Review: Stalin's Children by Owen Matthews". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "Edward Lucas: Owen Matthews "Stalin's Children" review". blogspot.com.tr.
  11. ^ "Owen Matthews 'Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America'". Pushkin House.
  12. ^ "Dining With the Author: Dangerous Misadventures With Owen Matthews". HuffPost.
  13. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/books/glorious-misadventures-a-history-by-owen-matthews.html?smid=go-share&_r=0
  14. ^ "Glorious Misadventures, by Owen Mathews – review". The Spectator.
  15. ^ "Imagine that Russia had colonised America". News – Telegraph Blogs.
  16. ^ http://www.lesescales.fr/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/ESCALES-LBF-2013.pdf
  17. ^ "Ullstein Buchverlage". Ullstein Buchverlage: Winterkinder. 2 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Région Lorraine – Cinq prix, 500 auteurs attendus". estrepublicain.fr.
  19. ^ Bullough, Oliver (18 March 2019). "An Impeccable Spy review – wine, women and state secrets". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  20. ^ Andrei Muchnik. "Russian TV Comes to Londongrad". The Moscow Times.

External links[edit]

  • Newsweek Magazine author page [1]
  • Spectator Magazine author page [2]
  • Pushkin House Prize author interview [3]
  • Guardian First Books Award author interview [4]
  • Nancy Literary Festival author interview [5]
  • Huffington Post author interview [6]
  • Forbes Magazine article on Matthews' Russia coverage [7]