About the Authors

Olga & John HawkesOlga

Olga was born in Shanghai in 1942 during the Japanese occupation when Sonechka, her mother, was nearly 40 and her father, Vladimir nearly 50.

In 1948, Olga aged five fled communist China to America with her sister and mother. On finishing High School in San Francisco, Olga went to Europe to visit relatives. In Paris, she got an au pair job and then studied at the Sorbonne.

In 1962 Olga met John at the American Hospital of Paris where they were both working. They married in Paris that same year.

Olga wrote Russian at Heart from the rich legacy of stories and memoirs left to her by Sonechka, her mother. Olga’s Christchurch born husband, John with his great love of history assisted her in writing this book.


After completing his post graduate medical studies overseas, John returned to New Zealand with Olga and their children for seven years. In 1974 John became the consultant www.nikeairmax90dam.biz rheumatologist at Bedford Hospital, England. Since 2002 Olga and John have lived in Christchurch, New Zealand, John’s home town. The history buff John is a former New Zealand athletics champion and decathlete.