Russian Soviet prose writer and poet, best known as the author of the Kolyma Tales cycle of stories and essays about the lives in Gulag. Shalamov was born on June 5 (June 18) 1907 in Vologda into the family of the priest Tikhon Nikolayevich Shalamov. In 1914, he went to high school but graduated from high school after the revolution. In 1924 he arrived in Moscow, where he worked as a tanner at the Kuntsevo tannery for two years. In 1926-1928 he studied at the Department of Soviet Law at Moscow State University, then was expelled "for concealing social origin" (indicating that his father was an invalid without mentioning that he was a priest). He spent most of the period from 1937 to 1951 in forced labour camps in the arctic region of Kolyma, partly because he supported Leon Trotsky and praised the anti-Soviet writer Ivan Bunin. In 1946 he became a physician's assistant while remaining a prisoner. He worked in that position throughout his incarceration and then for two more years after his release, until 1953. From 1954 to 1978 he wrote a number of stories about his experiences in the labour camps which were collected and published in six volumes known collectively as Kolyma Tales. These books were originally published in the West in English translations beginning in the 1960s; they were eventually published in Russian but did not become officially available in the Soviet Union until 1987, during the post-Glasnost era. "Kolyma Tales" is considered Shalamov's masterpiece and the "definitive chronicle" of life in labour camps. Shalamov died on January 17, 1982.