Alexei Ivanov was born in Perm, the Urals, in 1969. He studied journalism, and later the history of art, at Yekaterinburg State University. On his return to Perm he worked as a tour guide in a local travel agency. Traveling over the Urals and the vast taiga region inspired Alexei to study local lore and history. He organized a local lore study group for students, and established the Museum of Local Lore, which later received the status of State Museum.
The author of seven books, he received huge national acclaim for Heart of the Taiga and Gold of Revolt, which won him a number of prestigious literary awards, including Book of the Year-2003, from Book Review magazine, Prose of the Year-2005, in the Book of the Year competition, the Iasnaia Poliana literary prize (íThe Tolstoy Prizeë), and nominations for the National Bestseller Prize, the Russian Booker, and the Big Book Literary Award.
Film rights to three novels by the author have been sold and films are in production. The drama Tsar by Pavel Lungin, made from Ivanov's screenplay, was shown to full houses and earned high acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival (the Special Screenings program) in May 2009 and later opened the program of the Moscow Film Festival.
Ivanov lives now in Perm, writing prose and screenplays full time.