Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, a Russian writer and playwright who has published over 20 books, was born in Moscow in 1938. During the war she wandered between relatives and even stayed at an orphanage, “stealing heads of herring from the neighbours’ garbage bins,” she says. She first met her mother when she was 9 years old. Today, Petrushevskaya’s works are considered modern classics in Russia, but for many years her writing was banned by the soviet censorship. Although her writing was never political in a straightforward sense, her uncompromising realism and grey and despairing portrayal of soviet reality angered the authorities. It was only in 1988, when she was 50, that her first book Immortal Love was published. The first plays she wrote were staged only at amateur fringe theatres and were taken up by major theatres only in the mid 1980s. In those years she finally received widespread recognition and was translated into more than 30 languages; her plays were staged by the finest theatres and directors and she received numerous literary awards in Russia and worldwide. In 2009, she received the WFA (World Fantasy Award) for her short story collection There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby (which was translated into English and was a bestseller in the United States).