Born in 1971 in Russia, Lara Vapnyar moved in 1994 from Moscow to Brooklyn, New York with her husband. Knowing little English other than a few phrases she learned in school, Vapnyar quickly picked up the language and was soon writing in it, her first work being published in 2002.
Her stories tread what is for her familiar territory -- the lives and small ambitions of Russian emigres living in New York. They have been published in such magazines as The New Yorker and Harper's Magazine, as well as in a collection, There are Jews in My House. She has also published a novel, Memoirs of a Muse. Her work is generally identified as typically Russian, dealing intimately with the daily-life concerns of its subjects with fatalistic humor. She teaches writing at New York University.