Murasaki Shikibu, born in 978, was a member of Japan's Fujiwara clan, which ruled behind the scenes during the Heian Period
by providing the brides and courtesans of all the emperors. Lady Murasaki's rare literary talent, particularly her skill as
a poet, secured her a place in the court of Empress Akiko. After the death of her husband, she cloistered herself to study
Buddhism, raise her daughter, and write the world's first novel Genji Monogatari, the tale of the shining Prince Genji.
Royall Tyler was born in London, England, and grew up in Massachusetts, England, Washington D.C., and Paris. Royall Tyler's
previous works include Japanese Noh Dramas, a selection and translation of Noh plays published by Penguin; Japanese Tales
and French Folktales, anthologies published by Pantheon; and The Miracles of the Kasuga Deity, a study of a medieval Japanese
cult published by Columbia University Press.