Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism.
Ayn said she found school unchallenging and began writing screenplays at the age of eight and novels at the age of ten. At the prestigious Stoiunina Gymnasium, she and her closest friend Olga shared an intense interest in politics and would engage in debates.
The subsequent rule of Vladimir Lenin disrupted the life the family had previously enjoyed. Her father’s business was confiscated and the family displaced. They fled to the Crimean Peninsula and later went to Petrograd (as Saint Petersburg was renamed at that time), where they faced desperate conditions, on occasion nearly starving.
View Ayn’s life and a list of her books on her website.