Writer and President of Ukrainian PEN
Ukrainian Russian-language writer and President of Ukrainian PEN, he has more than 25 published works. After serving in the KGB as a translator from Japanese and as a prison guard in Odessa, where he wrote the first children's books, he is now one of his country's most important writers, with black humour and the ability to portray the post-Soviet atmosphere in Ukraine as his personal trademarks.
He began publishing shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union through self-publishing, and distributed his books throughout the country himself. In 1994, he published Muerte con pingüino (Blackie Books, 2017), his best-known novel, which quickly became a bestseller and was translated into more than thirty languages. El jardinero de Ochákov (Blackie Books, 2019), a dark satire on the nostalgia of Russians and Ukrainians for the Soviet past, has also been translated into Spanish, and his articles have appeared in media such as The Guardian and Eldiario.es.
His latest novel is Abejas grises (Alfaguara, 2022), the story of a beekeeper who lives in the so-called grey zone of the country, those villages in the Donbas that have been trapped on the war front since 2014. For almost ten years his books have been banned in Russia, and following the invasion of Ukraine he had to flee Kiiv.