Born in Voronezh, Elena Fanailova graduated from the Voronezh Medical Institute and earned a degree in journalism from Voronezh State University. She worked for six years as a doctor at Voronezh Regional Hospital. In 1995 she became a correspondent for Radio Svoboda, and has lived and worked in Moscow since the late nineties. She has contributed verse and literary reviews to Znamya, the New Literary Review, Critical Mass, Mitin Journal, and other publications. She has also translated the verses of Serhiy Zhadan from Ukrainian. She received the Andrei Bely Prize in 1999 and the Moscow Count Prize in 2003.