Franzobel was born as Stefan Griebl in 1967 in Vöcklabruck, Upper Austria. After earning a vocational diploma in mechanical engineering, he studied German philology and history at the University of Vienna. He worked as an extra at the Vienna Burgtheater and was known mainly as a visual artist until he won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 1995 with his textual collage Krautflut. He has written many novels, poems, plays, radio plays, and children’s books, and his prizes include the Arthur Schnitzler Prize and the Nestroy Theater Prize. In 2017, the novel excerpted here, Das Floß der Medusa (The Raft of the Medusa), was on the short list for the German Book Prize and received the Bavarian Book Prize.