Maxim Gorky was born in 1868, suffered a deprived childhood and spent his early youth as a vagrant, but by the 1890s he was ranked with Tolstoy and Chekhov among Russia's leading writers. For long he was best known in the West as a novelist, notably for The Mother (1907) and for the three volumes of his Autobiography, with only The Lower Depths (1902) established on the stage; but in the last third of the twentieth century his other plays began also to be recognised for their portrayals of the painful pre-revolutionary decades. Besides Philistines (1901), these included Summerfolk (1904), Children of the Sun (1905), Enemies (1906) and Vassa Shelesnova (1910). After some equivocation and years in exile, he finally embraced the Revolution, and died in 1936. Andrew Upton is Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company, where his first play, Hanging Man, was staged in 2002, followed by Riflemind in 2007. He has adapted a number of classics for the company, and in 2007 his version of Gorky's Philistines was seen at the National Theatre in London, followed by Bulgakov's The White Guard (2010) and Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (2011). He wrote the films Bangers (1999), which he also directed, and Gone (2006), and the libretto for Alan John's opera Through the Looking Glass (2008).