Yevgeny Zamyatin (February 1, 1884 – March 10, 1937) was a Russian novelist, playwright, short story writer, and essayist, whose famous anti-utopia (1924, We) prefigured Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), and inspired George Orwell’s 1984 (1949). The book was considered a “malicious slander on socialism” in the Soviet Union, and it was not until 1988 when Zamyatin was appreciated. In the English-speaking world We has appeared in several translations.
Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin was born in the provincial town of Lebedian, some two hundred miles south of Moscow. His father was an Orthodox priest and schoolmaster, and his mother musician. He attended Progymnasium in Lebedian and gymnasium in Voronezh. From 1902 to 1908 he studied naval engineering at St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute. While still a student, he joined the Bolshevik Party. In 1905 he made a study trip in the Near East. Due to his revolutionary activities, Zamyatin was arrested in 1905 and exiled. His first short story, ‘Odin’ (1908), drew on his experiences in prison. Zamyatin applied to Stalin for permission to emigrate in 1931 and lived in Paris until his death.