Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad, which is now St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1972. He moved to the United States seven years later with his family. He received a bachelor's degree in politics from Oberlin College in Ohio and an MFA in creative writing from City University of New York. His debut novel, The Russian Debutante's Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His other works include Absurdistan, Super Sad True Love Story, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, and Little Failure: A Memoir. He has taught writing at Hunter College, Columbia University, and Princeton University.