Leonid Latynin was born in 1938 in the town of Privolzhsk, Ivanovo Region,
on the Volga near Plyos.
Among his first teachers was Pyotr Konstantinovich Sumarokov, a priest's
son, who was in his turn a student of Vassily Vassilyevich Rozanov. His other teachers were several hundred
volumes of theological literature from his family library.
In 1960-64, Latynin studied at Moscow University's Department of
Philology. He attended the seminars of Nikolai Gudzy, Nikolai Liban, Sergei
Radzig, which made a lasting influence on him, inspiring his interest in the
theme of pre-Christian pantheon. This was later realized in his research and
his literary work.
In 1962-74, he worked first at the Khudozhestvennaya Literatura
Publishing House, then on the radio (in the Spanish and then in the
Brazilian section) and finally at the poetry division of the Youth magazine.
In the 1970s, he spent much time in the northern parts of Russia,
studying icons and local crafts.
In the 1980s, he was translating Central Asian poetry.
Also in the 1980s, he wrote the novels The Face-maker and the Muse,
Sleeper at Harvest Time, Stavr and Sarah.
Since 1960, Latynin lives in Moscow.