Born in Odessa, Ukraine in 1954, Irina Ratushinskaya is one of the leading contemporary Russian poets. She married Igor Gerashchenko, a human rights activist, in 1979 and became involved in the human rights movement. She spent four years in a labour camp for 'anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda' where she managed to smuggle out her poems. They were published in the collection No, I'm Not Afraid. After a series of hunger strikes, Irina was released and came to Britain. Her story is told in Grey Is The Colour Of Hope and In The Beginning. She and her husband now live in London.