Pham Thi Hoài, one of contemporary Vietnam’s most influential writers, was born in 1960 in Thanh Hoa province. Her first novel, Thien Su (The Crystal Messenger), was first published in Hanoi in 1988, and subsequently banned by the Vietnamese government. It has since been translated into seven languages, and was awarded the Frankfurt Literaturpreis in 1993 for best foreign novel. She is also the author of Me Lo, a collection of short stories, and has translated works by Kafka, Brecht and Durrenmatt into Vietnamese. She is the editor and founder of the Vietnamese forum www.talawas.org, and currently lives in Berlin.