Alexander Ikonnikov was born in 1974 in Urzhum near Kirov on the Vyatka River. Having finished his German studies, Ikonnikov was due to do military service. Military service had little appeal for him - this was during the war in Chechen Republic - so he opted for the civilian option. In his job interview, the officer said to him 'well you have chosen your moment well; they are looking for a teacher of English in Bystritsa. Ikonnikov made the point that he was a German scholar and knew not much of English. The military man answered 'So what? What difference does it make?' Thus, he spent two years teaching English in Bystritsa, watching the snow fall in a despairing landscape where nothing moves and where the only goal of the locals is to find how to pay for the next bottle of vodka. After this 'edifying' episode in his life which could come straight from his fiction, Ikonnikov moves to Kirov. There he worked as a journalist, a job he gave up to devote himself to writing full time. Lizka and Her Men is the first of Ikonnikov's works to be translated into English.