IRMGARD KEUN become an overnight sensation in German literary circles with the publication of her first novel, "Gilgi," at the age of 21. Her second novel, " The Artificial Silk Girl," shot to bestseller status in 1932, only to be placed the next year on an early Nazi blacklist. Eventually sentenced to death by the Nazis, she fled the country again and staged her own suicide ... then snuck back into Germany where she lived undercover for the duration of the war. She died in 1982, shortly after her work was rediscovered by feminist critics and general readers in Germany. Translator GEOFF WILKES is a Lecturer in German at the University of Queensland. He wrote the afterwords to Keun's novel "After Midnight" and to Hans Fallada's "Every Man DiesAlone."