He was born in Hải Dương, in northern Vietnam. In 1954, he went south, with some memories of "his house, its yard and his uncle's death fighting the French. Some memories of a ship 'opening its mouth' in Haiphong harbor." Fifty years later, he returned to his hometown, once, to verify that he was and would forever be a stranger. His new "hometown" was a rubber plantation in Bình Dương. In 1961, he went to Saigon, wrote poems as he discovered love, and penned plays while still in junior high school. In high school, he started to write fiction and journalism. April 30th, 1975 brought a halt to everything. There was a void from 1975 until 1993, a time of homelessness and prison. He started to write again in 1994, and has contributed to the newspapers and magazines such as Thanh Niên, Gia Đình & Xã Hội, Pháp Luật, Đẹp, Saigon City Life, and also to the BBC.
Linh Dinh started this entry.
- Trinh nữ, short stories (NXB Đồng Nai, 1995)
- Bố mẹ và con và…, essays (NXB Trẻ 1997)
- Hạt cát mang bóng đêm, novel (NXB Trẻ 1998)
- Rồng và rắn, novel (Tổ hợp Xuất Bản Miền Đông Hoa Kỳ 2002)
- Mật ngôn viết trên da người, poetry (2002), published online on Tiền Vệ
- Thời của những tiên tri giả, novel (NXB Công An Nhân Dân 2003), removed from bookstores by the Vietnamese government after publication, but is now available at Tiền Vệ. (After chapter one, click on author's name for links to subsequent chapters.)
- Chữ dưới chân tường, novel (California: Văn Mới, 2004)
- Trước ngày Chúa lại đến, novel (2004), published online on talawas
- Em có gì bí mật, hãy mail cho anh, novel (2004-2005), published online on Tiền Vệ
- ĐI.COM, novel (2006), published online on talawas
- Đi tới cuối đường, rồi ... (2007), published bilingually on Da Mau, with an English translation by Song Hạnh
- Dọc đường muộn, short stories, written before 1999
- Lao về phía bão 32 nhịp, poetry (2001)
- Mật ngôn viết trên da người, poetry (2002)
- 25 Lần Tờ Mờ Bờ Lờ, short stories (2003-2004)
Nguyễn Viện online
- Nguyễn Viện page on Da Màu, with a novel, Đi tới cuối đường, rồi ..., translated into English and published serially
- "Birth Certificate in Hai Duong," Tue Dan translates the short story "KHAI SINH Ở HẢI DƯƠNG"
- "Only You would Know This," Hà Thủy Nguyệt translates the poem "Chỉ có em biết điều này"
- Nguyễn Viện page on Tiền Vệ
- "Viết dưới hầm mộ," a poem
- "Nhìn thấy Bùi Giáng lần cuối", on Bùi Giáng
- "Nguyễn Viện với Rồng và rắn" by Thụy Khuê
- An interview of Lynh Bacardi
- "Nguyễn Viện — v[i]ết mật ngôn trên d[r]a" by Đặng Thân