Peter Pišťanek was born in Slovakia in 1960; he enrolled in Bratislava’s Academy of Performing Arts, but did not graduate. His breakthrough came in 1991 with Rivers of Babylon, the first part of a trilogy. The Wooden Village followed in 1994, and the third novel in the series, The End of Freddy was published in 1999. In 1993 he published three novellas, of which Young Dônč is regarded as a masterpiece. Younger Slovak readers by then acknowledged Peter Pišťanek as their most flamboyant and fearless writer, stripping the nation of its myths and false self-esteem. But hostility from the critical and political establishment, as well as a Czech travesty of a filming of Rivers of Babylon, led the author to move away from literature into journalism, and then into translation.