Nguyen Kien was born in 1935 in Ha Tay Province, Vietnam. He was a teacher for a long period of time, and subsequently was an employee of The Youth Staff and an editor for the Literature Publishing House. He was a former director of The Publishing House Vietnam Writers' Association of the Third Term. In 2001, he was awarded the literary prize of Vietnam Writers' Association and the Great National Prize for Literature and Art.

He has written numerous stories about the countryside in wartime and in peace and the reason for this is that he has good knowledge of this aspect of life and "in myself there are many native shared feelings from my childhood being a country boy". His main works include: In the Village (Short Stories), The Harvest Has Not Collected (Short Stories), A Far Place (Short Stories), The Bottom of Water (Short Stories).

His winning piece of work for the 2002 S.E.A. Write Awards is "A Racked-Tail Treepie Gives a Cry".