Jim Dingley was born in Leeds in 1942. The school he attended was one of the first in the UK to start teaching Russian in the aftermath of the launch of the first Soviet satellite. He continued his studies of Russian and other Slavonic languages at Cambridge in the early 1960s. After a brief stint working in the Netherlands and then in the British Museum Library (now the British Library), he worked in the University of Reading and then in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He retired in 2003 and has never looked back. His interest in Belarus and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania began in 1966 and he is now quite literally married to the region — his wife, Ella, is a native Belarusian speaker from Miensk; without her help and support the translation of Natalka Babina’s book would have taken much longer and would have been much poorer.