12 March marks the beginning of the 11th season of the Enlightener Prize, which is awarded annually to the best non-fiction book written in Russian.

The Enlightener completed its first decade last year, and according to the members of the organizing committee of the prize, now is the time for several changes. “When Enlightener first started, the non-fiction book market was practically empty” says Alexander Arkhangelsky, the co-chairman of the organizing committee. “Now it is expanding and there coexist various niches, equally worthy but hardly subject to any general criteria. How can you compare a brilliant book with a powerful enlightening message to a book written by a scientist based on their own experience? Sometimes it is possible, sometimes not.”

Therefore, in the new season the Enlightener jury will have the right to divide the laureate status in both traditional nominations into two sub-nominations. In such case one nomination will be called science and the other pop. The financial reward will be divided equally between the two laureates. However, the organizing committee would like to emphasize that such measure will be taken as a last resort only and it should be understood as a right of the jury, not its obligation. The jury will continue to do its best in order to determine individual winners. Its members will do so based on their personal experience in reading and science.

Those willing to enter the competition may submit their application forms until 15 May. The long-list will be announced no later than on 20 June and the short-list no later than on 5 October. The traditional festival of the Enlightener Prize will take place between 8 and 11 November and the laurates will be announced at the annual awarding ceremony on 15 November.

Jury members in 2018:

Alexei Semikhatov — chairman of the jury, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, leading researcher of the Lebedev Physical institute;
Evgeny Bunimovich — mathematician, poet, honoured teacher of the Russian Federation, Children's Rights Commissioner in Moscow;
Alexander Markov — Doctor of Biological Sciences, professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Senior Research Professor of the Paleontological Institute, RAS, head of the Biological Evolution department, Lomonosov Moscow State University;
Roman Leybov — Doctor of Philological Sciences (University of Tartu), Associate Professor of the Department of Russian Literature, University of Tartu (Estonia), curator of project Ruthenia.ru";
Daria Varlamova — journalist, laureate of the Enlightener Prize 2017 in the Natural and Exact Sciences category, co-author of the book To Go Crazy. Guide to Mental Disorders for a Big City Dweller;
Alexander Piperski — Candidate of Philological Sciences, assistant professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities, laureate of the Enlightener Prize 2017 in the Humanities category, author of the book Creating Languages. From Esperanto to Dothraki;
Irina Scherbakova — Candidate of Philological Sciences, head of youth and educational programmes at the international civil rights society Memorial, laureate of the Enlightener Prize 2017 in the Humanities category, co-author of the book The Sign Cannot Be Erased. Fates of the Ostarbeiters in Letters, Memoirs and Oral Histories;

Dmitry Zimin — the founder of the Enlightener Prize (with the right of advisory vote).

In 2018 the applicants may submit non-fiction books on any topic originally written in Russian which are currently on sale (not second-hand), regardless of the publication date. Manuscripts that are in the process of publishing at the markup stage may be submitted by publishing houses. Scientific monographs, school and university textbooks and manuals, journals, biographies and memoirs will not be accepted into the competition.

The Enlightener Prize laureates will be announced at the awarding ceremony, and they will receive a 700 000 ruble prize. Each finalist will receive 100 000 rubles.