‘Herta Müller is a writer who helps us understand what it is to be human in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Though rooted in the German ethnic minority of Romania, her writing is universal. She writes about life in a dictatorship and the individual's response of taking flight. Once again, the Nobel Prize committee has done its job - to bring to the attention of a wider public an essential writer whose lyrical prose captures the oppression of totalitarian regimes, the reality of life for many too many people today. Serpent’s Tail is very proud to publish The Passport, the first book of Herta Müller to be translated into English.’ Pete Ayrton, Serpent’s Tail
Herta Müller was born on August 17, 1953 in the German-speaking town Nitzkydorf in Banat, Romania. She was associated with Aktionsgruppe Banat, a circle of young German-speaking authors who, in opposition to Ceauşescu’s dictatorship, sought freedom of speech. She emigrated to Germany in 1987, after being dismissed from her job in Romania during the 1970s for her refusal to co-operate with the regime's secret police. Herta Müller currently lives in Berlin.
Müller made her debut with the collection of short stories Niederungen (1982), which was censored in Romania. Two years later, she published the uncensored version in Germany and, in the same year, Drückender Tango in Romania. In these two works, Müller depicts life in a small, German-speaking village and the corruption, intolerance and repression to be found there. Because Müller had publicly criticized the dictatorship in Romania, she was prohibited from publishing in her own country.