Vladimir Sorokin was born in 1955 in Bykovo near Moscow. Following his studies in Engineering at the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas he worked for a year at the newspaper »Smena«, began working with painting and graphics, and participated in numerous exhibitions, as well as illustrating roughly 50 books. Sorokin had his début as a writer in the early 1970s in an oil industry journal. During the 1980s he belonged to the »Moscow Underground« of artists and writers, and was published in »Samizdat«. His first novel, »čered‘« (Engl. »The Queue«, 1988), was published in 1985 by the French publisher Syntaxe. He only became known to a wider audience in Russia after Perestroika. Sorokin is one of the leading representatives of the Conceptualist School of Russian literature. In his books he plays with different genres and styles, parodies the pathos of Socialist Realism, appropriates fragments from folk tales and formula fiction, and combines elements of political satire and Soviet legends with depictions of violence and utopian visions. It was above all Sorokin’s parodic deconstructions of Russian and Soviet classics, and his use of pornographic elements, which led the Russian youth organisation »ščie vmeste« to organise public protests against him.
In his »Eis« trilogy (2005; Engl: »Ice«, 2007) Sorokin temporarily renounced Conceptualism as a »reaction against the disappointment with modern intellectualism«. He combines real historical events with fantastic elements, and describes the battle of a »Brotherhood of Light« against humanity in order to return the world – a hell of physicality, sexuality and violence – to a primal state of being. The following novel »Den’ opričnika« (2006; tr: Oprichnik’s Day) is a kind of anti-utopia which is set in Russia in the year 2027. His book »Saharniy Kreml« (2008: tr. Kremlin Made of Sugar), which portrays a Russia of the near future ruled by information technology and mass poverty, picks up on this theme. Sorokin’s most recent novel »Metel« (2010: tr. The Snowstorm) tells of the fantastical journey of country doctor, Garin, who is trying to prevent the spread of a myterious disease – not without evoking the stuff of the great Russian tales. Once again, Sorokin’s portrayal of an imaginary Russia is characterised by his great sense of parody.
Vladimir Sorokin is the author of numerous screenplays and scripts, which have largely been premièred in German-speaking productions. His books have been translated into 22 languages. In 2001, Sorokin was awarded the Andrej-Bely-Prize, among others, for excellent work in service to the Russian language. He received the »Chevalier des Arts & Lettres« and is a member the Russian P.E.N. In 2011, Sorokin was writer in residence at the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages of Stanford University in California. He lives today in Moscow.