Mikhaíl Afanasyevich Bulgakov (/bʊlˈɡɑːkəf/; Russian: Михаи́л Афана́сьевич Булга́ков, pronounced [mʲɪxɐˈil ɐfɐˈnasʲjɪvʲɪtɕ bʊlˈɡakəf]; May 15 [O.S. May 3] 1891 – March 10, 1940) was a Russian writer and playwright active in the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita, which has been called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. Mikhail Bulgakov was born on May 15, 1891, in Kiev, Russian Empire. He was one of seven children (the oldest of three brothers) of Afanasiy Bulgakov, an assistant professor at the Kiev Theological Academy, and Varvara Mikhailovna, a former teacher. Both of his grandfathers were clergymen in the Russian Orthodox Church. Afanasiy Bulgakov was born in Bryansk Oblast, Russia, where his father was a priest, and he moved to Kiev to study in the academy. Varvara Bulgakova was born in Karachev, Russia. Friendship, respect, and mutual love reigned in Bulgakov's large family and happy home. From childhood Bulgakov was drawn to theater. At home, he wrote comedies, which his brothers and sisters acted out.