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Andrey Kurkov

Born near Leningrad in 1961, Kurkov was a journalist, prison warder, cameraman and screenplay-writer before his novels took off. He received "hundreds of rejections" and was a pioneer of self-publishing, selling more than 75,000 copies of his books in a single year. His novel Death and the Penguin, his first in English translation, was an international bestseller, drawing acclaim from all quarters. He lives in Kiev with his English wife and their three children.