Yoel Hoffmann was born to a Jewish-Austrian family who came to pre-state Israel when Hoffman was a year old. He is a professor of Japanese poetry, Buddhism and philosophy at Haifa University. He spent two years in a Buddhist monastery, and has translated Japanese poetry. Hoffman received the Bialik Prize (2002) and the Prime Minister`s Prize (2007). With his first collection of stories, The Book of Joseph (1988), Hoffman began his lyrical, experimental literary journey. But only with Bernhardt (1989) and Christ of Fishes (1991) did his mature creative voice emerge.