Vladimir Sorokinwas born in a small town outside of Moscow in 1955. He trained as an engineer at the Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas, but turned to art and writing, becoming a major presence in the Moscow underground of the 1980s. His work was banned in the Soviet Union, and his first novel,The Queue,was published by the famed ?migr? dissident Andrei Sinyavksy in France in 1983. In 1992, Sorokin’sCollected Storieswas nominated for the Russian Booker Prize; in 1999, the publication of the controversial novelBlue Lard, which included a sex scene between clones of Stalin and Khrushchev, led to public demonstrations against the book and to demands that Sorokin be prosecuted as a pornographer; in 2001, he received the Andrei Biely Award for outstanding contributions to Russian literature. Sorokin is also the author of the screenplays forMoscow,The Kopeck,and4,and of the libretto for Leonid Desyatnikov’sThe Children of Rosenthal, the first new opera to be commissioned by the Bolshoi Theater since the 1970s. He has written numerous novels, plays, and short stories, and his work has been translated throughout the world. NYRB Classics published his novelIcein 2007. He lives in Moscow. Sally Lairdis the editor ofVoices of Russian Literature: Interviews with Ten Contemporary Writers, and is the translator of many books, includingThe Time: Nightby Liudmila Petrushevskaia.