BORIS AKUNIN is the literary pseudonym of the Georgian-born Grigol Chkhartishvili (b. 1956, Tbilisi), a prominent writer, essayist, and translator. Akunin graduated from the University of Moscow with majors in Philology and Oriental History, focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Over two decades he translated Japanese literature (Mishima, Inoue) into English; taught Japanese culture and civilization courses; worked as an editor and then editor-in-chief of a prestigious literary journal; wrote an extensive study entitled The Author and Suicide; is editing a comprehensive twenty-volume anthology of Japanese literature; and heads the equally impressive project “The Pushkin Library” sponsored by George Soros. Since 1998 he has been writing detective fiction, which made him a literary celebrity in Russia, Europe, and the United States.


His books have been translated into more than fifty languages, and more than thirty million copies of his books have been sold. Azazel (1998) opens the series featuring the extraordinary and charismatic detective ERAST FANDORIN, whose unorthodox exploits solve intricate mysteries destabilizing the fin-de-siècle Tsarist Russia and Europe.

Over the past several years, Akunin has become a crucial voice for political dissidents, and has been profiled by The New Yorker and other major publications. He is currently working on a multi-volume History of Russia.

Photo by A. STRUNIN