Alexei Maximovich Peshkov (1868 – 1936), primarily known as Maxim Gorky, was a Russian and Soviet writer, a founder of the socialist realism literary method, and a political activist. Gorky became an orphan at the age of eleven. He was in kinship care, brought up by his grandmother and ran away from home at the age of twelve in 1880. After an attempt at suicide in December 1887, he travelled on foot across the Russian Empire for five years, changing jobs and accumulating impressions used later in his writing.
Gorky's most famous works were The Lower Depths (1902), Twenty-six Men and a Girl (1899), The Song of the Stormy Petrel (1901), My Childhood (1913–1914), Mother (1906), Summerfolk (1904) and Children of the Sun (1905). He had associations with fellow Russian writers Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov; Gorky would later mention them in his memoirs. Gorky was active in the emerging Marxist communist movement. He publicly opposed the Tsarist regime, and for a time closely associated himself with Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov's Bolshevik wing of the party. For a significant part of his life, he was exiled from Russia and later the Soviet Union. In 1932, he returned to the USSR on Joseph Stalin's personal invitation and lived there until his death in June 1936. He was also a five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature.