Donald Rayfield was born in 1942 in Oxford, England. He lives in the country not far from London. He was educated at Cambridge and began as a lecturer in the university of Queensland. He soon moved to London University (Queen Mary) where he was head of the Russian department for nearly forty years. He recently retired, but remains an emeritus professor of Russian and Georgian. He has written books on Chekhov's work and life, a biography of the explorer Przewalski, A History of Georgian Literature (a third edition has just appeared), many articles on the poetry of Osip Mandelstam, on literary relations between Europe and Russia, and a study entitled 'Stalin and his Hangmen' (which has now been translated into eight European languages). He was the editor-in-chief of 'A Comprehensive Georgian-English Dictionary, and has also compiled the first exhaustive collection of the poetry of Tatiana Shchepkina-Kupernik. He has translated Georgian poets (Vazha Pshavela, Galaktion Tabidze etc), Mandelstam, and Chekhov; recently his translation of Gogol's 'Dead Souls' was published by the Garnett Press, with 96 engravings by Chagall. He is now working on a History of Georgia and translation 'Avelum', a novel by Otar Chiladze.