Teolinda Gersão was born in Coimbra (Portugal). After a degree in English and German Studies at the University of Coimbra, she did post-graduate studies in Germany at the Universities of Tübingen and Berlin. She returned to Portugal and taught at the University of Lisbon, and later at the New University of Lisbon, where she was full Professor of German Literature and Comparative Literature until 1995. She has been a full-time writer since 1995. In addition to her three years in Germany, she lived for two years in São Paulo (Brazil) and for some time in Mozambique, the capital of which (then Lourenço Marques, now Maputo) is the setting for her 1997 novel A Árvore das Palavras (The Word Tree, Dedalus, UK, 2010).
Her work has received some of the most important awards for novels and short stories in Portugal: the Pen Club Prize for Novel in 1981 and 1989, the Grand Prix for Novel from the Portuguese Writers´ Association in 1995, the Fiction Prize of the ICLA (International Critics´ Literary Association) in 1999 and, in 2001, the Grand Prix for Short-Story from the Portuguese Writers´ Association. Her book of short stories A Mulher que Prendeu a Chuva (The Woman who Stole the Rain), 2007, won the Maxima Review Literary Prize and the Fiction Prize given by the Inês de Castro Foundation in 2008. The novel Passages received the Fernando Namora Prize in 2015.
Four of her books were adapted for the theatre and staged in Portugal, Germany and Romania. The theatrical version of her novel A Casa da Cabeça de Cavalo (The House of the Horse´s Head) won the Grand Prix at the International Theatre Festival, in Bucarest in 1995. Two short-stories inspired short-films and a film is being shot based on the novel Passages.
She was Writer-in-Residence at Berkeley University in 2004 and her work has been translated into 11 languages. Passagens and Prantos, amores e outros desvarios (2016) are her latest books.