Prominent Russians: Tatyana Ustinova
She was born in April 28, 1968 in a small town of Kratovo in Moscow region. Ustinova does not have a professional education in literature or writing, but she has always had excellent marks in creative writing at high school. In 1991 she graduated from Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology, the department of Aeronautics and Flight Engineering. A non-humanitarian education might seem a bit strange for a born writer, but Ustinova promised her loving grandmother to get a degree in physics. Thus granny's wish was fulfilled.
After graduation Ustinova never started an engineering career. Instead she took a job as a secretary on Russia's second biggest TV channel, then she was promoted to a interpreter's position and translated popular American TV shows from English into Russian. Later she became a journalist of a morning programme and finally was promoted to the position of programme's editor.
In 1993 she got a new job at the Administration of the President as a press officer of Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Four years later for a short time she returned to television and worked for Russia's first federal TV channel, but soon she came back to C & I Chamber, this time as its PR manager, just to find herself fired in almost no time. Ustinova did not get upset and decided to use her life and work experience to write her first ever novel – a crime story “Personal Angel”. Its public success was tremendous. The novel became a best seller, and its author instantly turned into the most popular mystery writer in Russia.
Ustinova is also known as a script-writer for television. In 2004 her “Always Say 'Always'” won a Tefi Award (Russia's analogue of Emmy Award) for the best script for TV series. Many of her criminal stories were also adapted for television, enjoying great popularity among the TV audience.
Although Ustinova is one of three most popular female writers in the country, she is not a party goer many could be in her place. She can be seen only at her books' presentations, which usually become a big event in cultural life of Moscow. For example, in 2004 she published a novel titled “The Oligarch and the Great Bear” based on controversial prosecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian tycoon who got involved into politics.
Ustinova is also known for her personal charm and good sense of humor. Here is a quote from her official website: “I'll never become a classic of great Russian literature. I create detective stories merely to entertain my readers”.