The artist and writer Maxim Kantor was born in Moscow in 1957 and graduated from the Moscow Art Polytechnic in 1980. In 1983 he organized the independent group of painters that was later called Krasny Dom (Red House). The group mounted a number of unofficial, one-day exhibitions, the most famous of which took place at the Institute of Philosophy in Moscow in 1984. He has exhibited his painting in Western Europe and the U.S. and had a solo exhibition in the Russian Pavilion at the 1997 Biennale in Venice. He published his first collection of short stories, House in the Wasteland, in 1993; his other books include collections of etchings, plays, and articles. His two-volume novel A Drawing Textbook, published in 2006, sold a thousand copies on the first day and sold out its first print run of five thousand copies in a month, making it Russia's fastest selling first novel. His website is www.maximkantor.com.