Peter Pišťanek (1960–2015) grew up in Devínska Nová Ves near Bratislava, where he lived most of his life. After studying dramaturgy and script writing at VŠMU, the Bratislava Academy of Performing Arts, he worked as a car park attendant, machinist, worker in a theatre set storeroom, and he was also a drummer in a rock band. He co-founded the internet magazine inZine, worked for the Slovak radio and television, as well as for a software company, and his many published works include a cookbook, Recepty z rodinného archívu (Recipes From the Family Archive). His breakthrough came in 1991 with the first part of the Rivers of Babylon trilogy, which became a cult book and was adapted for the screen in 1998. “Pišťanek’s genius became manifest in Rivers of Babylon which, with its sequels The Wooden Village and The End of Freddy, formed a trilogy in which the thug who takes over the money-changing and prostitution rackets in a hotel transmutes into an oil oligarch. Pišťanek’s plotting has the ingenuity of Quentin Tarantino, the irony of Evelyn Waugh and, in the later novels, an obscenity that makes Last Exit to Brooklyn seem mealy-mouthed,” to quote from his the obituary by his English publisher, Donald Rayfield. Peter Pišťanek died of an overdose not long after the publication of his last novel, Rukojemník (The Hostage, 2014), which has also been made into a film based on his screenplay.