Born in the upper Altai Mountains in western Mongolia, the youngest son of a Tuvan shaman, Galsan majored in German studies at the Karl Marx University in Leipzig, East Germany (1962-1968). He did his thesis work under Erwin Strittmatter, and upon graduation began to work as a German teacher at the National University of Mongolia. In 1976 his teaching license was revoked because of his "political untrustworthiness". He continued to work twelve-hour shifts, shuttling between all four of the Mongolian universities. In 1980, at the age of 36, Galsan was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition. He later recovered from the condition and credits his "shamanic powers" and plenty of exercise for saving his life.
Today, the author spends most of the year at his home in the Mongolian capital city of Ulan Bator, together with his family of nearly 20. He also spends much time giving readings in the German-speaking world and across Europe, as well as seeking to get closer to his Tuvan roots in the western Mongolian steppes. Though he still writes mainly in German, his books have been translated into many other languages. In addition to his writing, Galsan is an activist for the Tuvan minority and practices shamanistic healing.
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