Andreï Makine (born 1957) is a Russian-born French author. He was born in Krasnoyarsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union on 10 September 1957 and grew up in city of Penza, a provincial town about 440 miles south-east of Moscow. As a boy, having acquired familiarity with France and its language from his French-born grandmother (it is not certain whether Makine had a French grandmother; in later interviews he claimed to have learnt French from a friend), he wrote poems in both French and his native Russian.
In 1987, he went to France as member of teacher's exchange program and decided to stay. He was granted political asylum and was determined to make a living as a writer in French. However, Makine had to present his first manuscripts as translations from Russian to overcome publishers' skepticism that a newly arrived exile could write so fluently in a second language. After disappointing reactions to his first two novels, it took eight months to find a publisher for his fourth, "Le testament français". Finally published in 1995 in France, the novel became the first in history to win both the "Prix Goncourt" and the "Prix Medicis" plus the "Goncourt des Lycéens".