After trying out various jobs between 1961 and 1967 he began to study philosophy and logic in Leipzig.
Christoph Hein completed his studies in Berlin in 1971 and subsequently worked as an assistant director, playwright and in-house writer at the Volksbühne Berlin. He has devoted himself to his writing on a full-time basis since 1979, and has published novels, novellas, stories, plays and essays. His first children's book, Das Wildpferd unterm Kachelofen (The Wild Stallion Under the Stove), was published in 1984.
His works have received numerous awards. Recent honours have included the Österreichischer Staatspreis für Europäische Literatur (2002).