Nicolai Lilin is a Russian writer of Siberian descent. He was born in 1980 in the USSR and grew up in Transnistria, a small state that declared its independence in 1990. He was conscripted to the Russian military, and was involved in anti-terrorist operations in Chechnya. Once his military service ended, he worked for various private security agencies as an anti-terrorism consultant before leaving military life to travel in various European countries, including Ireland. He settled in Italy, and founded an arts centre in Milan dedicated to the tradition and design of Siberian tattoos. His first book, Siberian Education, was a major bestseller in Italy and it was published in the UK to critical acclaim.