Robert Dessaix was born in Sydney in 1944 and attended Lane Cove Public School, Artarmon Opportunity School and North Sydney Boys High School. After a year at Sydney University, he moved to Canberra to major in Russian language and literature. He spent the next 23 years in Canberra, studying for his MA and PhD both at the ANU and at Moscow University. Eventually he returned to Sydney to teach at the University of NSW. While there, he joined the Griffin Theatre Company and met the artistic director of the Nimrod Theatre Company, Aubrey Mellor. Together, they set about translating many of Anton Chekhov’s major plays for productions in theatres around the country. In 1982 Robert met his present partner, the writer Peter Timms, at that time curator at the Powerhouse Museum. From 1985 to 1995, Robert presented the weekly ‘Books and Writing’ program on ABC Radio National, while in more recent years he has written and presented radio series on Australian public intellectuals, great travellers in history, as well as regular programs on language. He has published nine acclaimed works of non-fiction and fiction, as well as translations of Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Vakhtin and a number of Russian poets. A full-time writer since 1995, he lives in Hobart.