John Wray was born in Washington, DC in 1971, the son of an Austrian mother and an American father, both scientists. His childhood was divided between the United States and Austria and this novel draws on his Austrian family history. In 1996 a selection of his poems won a prize from the Academy of American Poets and New York University. He is the author of three novels, The Right Hand of Sleep, Lowboy and Canaan's Tongue. He lives in New York.