Born in Russia in 1884, Yevgeny Zamyatin was one of those courageous and idealistic Communists who was willing to suffer for speaking out against the abuses of both the oppressive Tsarist monarchy and the quickly corrupted Soviet Union which supplanted it. As an early Bolshevik, Zamyatin enjoyed-at least initially-enough credibility after the October Revolution to continue to write philosophy and even political satire, becoming one of the first Soviet dissidents. This ended with his attempted publication in 1921 of his masterpiece, We, a novel about a futuristic police state that controlled not only every action of its citizens, but every thought and emotion as well. The parallels between his fictional One State and the emerging totalitarianism of the Communist Party were unmistakable, and We was the first work to be banned by the Soviet censorship board. Forced to look elsewhere for an audience, Zamyatin smuggled his work out of Russia and published it in the West. As a result, he was blacklisted entirely, and hence, to remain a writer, Zamyatin was forced to leave Russia. His petition for an exit visa to Stalin was granted (some say miraculously), though he never achieved the fame or genius outside Russia he had known within it. Zamyatin died in relative obscurity in Paris in 1937, five years after the publication of Brave New World, and twelve years before Nineteen Eighty-Four, two derivative works which would cement Zamyatin's place as one of the most influential authors of all time.
Margaret Atwood is the acclaimed author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. She is the recipient of dozens of awards, including joint winner of the Booker Prize in 2019, as well as the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, among many others.