Mikhail Naumovich Epshtein was born in Moscow in 1950. He was the only child of Naum Moiseevich Epshtein (1907-1969) and Mariia Samuilovna (1914-1987). He graduted from Moscow State University, summa cum laude in philology (1972). Since 1978 he was a member of the Union of Soviet Writers (section of literary studies and criticism). He was the founder and director of the Laboratory of Contemporary Culture in Moscow.
Mikhail Epstein moved to the USA in 1990. In 1990-91 he was fellow of Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington D.C.). He joined Emory faculty in 1990. In 1992-94 he received a grant from National Council for Soviet and East European Research for his project on the history of Russian thought of the late Soviet period.
Mikhail Epstein's recent books in English include: After the Future: Paradoxes of Postmodernism and Contemporary Russian Culture (1995); Russian Postmodernism: New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture(with two coauthors) (1999); Transcultural Experiments: Russian and American Models of Creative Communication (with Ellen Berry) (1999); and Cries in the New Wilderness: From the Files of the Moscow Institute of Atheism (2002). He has authored 15 books and approximately 400 essays and articles, translated into 14 languages.
Mikhail Epstein has authored InteLnetand a number of other web sites in the humanities. He is coediting journals Symposion: A Journal of Russian Thought and Veer budushchnostei: Tekhno-gumanitarnyi vestnik (The Fan of Futures: Techno-Humanistic Weekly). He is the author of the ongoing online dictionary of Russian neologisms Dar slova: Proektivnyi leksikon (A Gift of a Word: A Projective Lexicon of Russian Language).
Mikhail Epstein has won national and international awards, including Andrei Bely prize (S.-Petersburg, 1991); The Social Innovations Award 1995 from the Institute for Social Inventions (London) for his electronic Bank of New Ideas; the International Essay Contest set up by Lettre International and Weimar - Cultural City of Europe, 1999; and Liberty Prize, awarded annually for "the outstanding contribution to the development of Russian - U.S. cultural relations" (New York, 2000).