Born 1944 and author of four novels, Kongoli is considered one of the most forceful and convincing representatives of contemporary Albanian literature. The Loser is his first novel. His work has been translated to critical acclaim in French, German, Italian, Greek and Slovak. Having studied in China Kongoli worked as a mathematician during the Hoxa regime, preferring not to publish major works until that period ended, since when he has become one of the leading writers from Albania, recording the plight of that country and its people under the repressive Communist regime. When first published in 1992, The Loser found immediate success. It has been described as the most important Albanian novel to emerge from the post-Communist era. Robert Elsie is a Canadian with a longstanding (over thirty years) specialism in Albanian and Balkan history and literature. He has translated dozens of novels and stories, interviewed and promoted a wide range of authors and runs an informative, authoritative and vitally important website 'Albanian Authors in Translation'. The site includes the largest selection of Albanian and Kosovan literature ever to appear in English. He also maintains a website devoted to the history of Albania, comprising a collection of texts from the eleventh century onwards which shed light on a neglected corner of Europe. He is currently employed as an Interpreter by The Hague International Courts.