Hubert Butler Annual Lecture 2022 by political analyst Masha Gessen

For many years, Masha Gessen was one of America’s most respected political analysts. In 2020, their special “in conversation” event on the Trump administration, streamed online at the Festival, was essential viewing ahead of the US election.

More recently, since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, they have spoken of the unique position they find themselves in – exiled from Russia because of their sexuality, traveling to Ukraine to report on the war. Gessen has focused on the impact the war has had on the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine, incorporating both the personal and the political into her work.

A dual American and Russian citizen, Gessen is an incisive analyst of Putin’s regime and a multi-award-winning author. Their book The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, won a National Book Award in the United States, among many other accolades. Other works, including The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, examine both the main protagonist at the center of the war in Ukraine and the networks of support and resistance that have developed around him.

For this year’s Hubert Butler Lecture, Gessen examines how Putin came to war in Ukraine and how far he might go.

The annual Hubert Butler Lecture was established by the Festival in 2007 to pay tribute to the Kilkenny writer, historian and broadcaster whose remarkable consistency of vision and clarity of mind made him unique among 20th century essayists.

Location: Saint-Canice Cathedral

Admission: €17 / £15

Tickets available at:


Angela C. Hale