OLZHAS ZHANAYDAROV was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 1980. His father was an army officer, and in 1987 his family moved to Moscow. In 2002, he graduated from the Russian Plekhanov's Academy of Economics with honors and went on to work as a manager while writing short poems, literature notes, stories and essays. His work has been published in the Russian magazines Neva and Prolog, and he is the author of the novel The Sun at its Zenith. In 2010, his first play, Two at the Café, was included in the Russian drama contest “Premiere.txt.” His second play, Earplugs (2011), was awarded GranPrix of the International Competition of Modern Drama, “Free Theatre,” and won First Prize at the International Playwrights' Competition, “Eurasia.” The Soul of a Pillow (2013) won First Prize at “Little Premiere.” This caused a public scandal in the summer of 2014, when Vladimir Aristarkhov, first deputy in the Ministry of Culture, accused the play of “promoting homosexual propaganda among minors.” Zhanaydarov's most recent play, The Store (2014) received a Debut Prize for Young Authors nomination and a National Theatre Award Golden Mask for Best Play. It was presented as a staged reading at the Young Drama Festival, Lubimovka, in autumn 2014. His plays have been produced at theaters in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Petropavlovsk and Almaty. He is a member of the Moscow Writers Union and speaks Russian and English.