Ripped from Russia | Author Biography Writing Contest

The LGBT in Russia are constantly threatened, murdered, and isolated. For them I became a writer. I believe in writing the way people believe in god. Literature is as banned as religion was in the Soviet Union. My first novel is set in my hometown of Saint Petersburg, Russia. When I learned of queer men being put on a hit list database in Russia, I was unnerved. Coming from a country with few human rights, I imbue my work with representation most personal to me. Writers inspired me with their wisdom. I want to inspire the younger generation of readers who have no mentor. The survival tactic for being ripped from Russia and dropped into Kindergarten in the United States: Understand the aliens around you. Figure out how you can fit in, fast. I've always been trying to understand people; I write entire books about them. I was raised travelling: Speeding through Israeli cliffs and surviving when the bus behind mine didn't. Crying when the plane bumped into Leningrad Airport and I was home in Russia for the first time since I was five years old. My experiences with diverse cultures drives everything I do. I have had lots of jobs. One of my favourites was being camp counsellor on Vancouver Island for high schoolers from the Philippines. I could pee without wiping, make smoke with my hands, and watch a mongoose skid and fall into the river in fright from our kayaking crew. Not to forget, my taste for adrenaline. The flow of typing; the skid of skis, a desperate attempt at friction, force against force. My mind's always lived in the fast lane. Though it had kickstarted my intensive writing, not a word of my journalling ended up in the novel I finished six months later.

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