Drago Jančar was born in 1948 in Maribor, Slovenia. He is the best-known Slovenian writer, playwright, and essayist both at home and abroad, and one of the most translated Slovenian authors. He obtained a law degree at the former College of Law at the University of Maribor, and later worked as a journalist, freelance writer, and movie script editor and writer. In 1975, he was sentenced to a one-year prison sentence for allegedly “spreading enemy propaganda.” In l981, he was appointed editor-in-chief and secretary of the Slovenska matica publishing house. In 1985, he visited the USA on a Fulbright Fellowship, and later also resided in Germany, Austria, and in the UK as the recipient of the Literary Fellowship of the Free State of Bavaria, the Fellowship of the Austrian Literature Society, and the British Council Fellowship, respectively. As a president of the Slovenian P.E.N. Centre between 1987 and 1991, he was engaged in the rise of democracy in Slovenia and Yugoslavia. He lives and works in Ljubljana.
His numerous works include the novels Galjot (The Galley Slave, 1978), Severni sij (Northern Lights, 1984), Katarina, pav in jezuit (Katarina, the Peacock and the Jesuit, 2000), Drevo brez imena (The Nameless Tree, 2008), To noč sem jo videl (That Night I Saw Her, 2010) and Maj, november (Mai, November, 2014); the plays Disident Arnož in njegovi (Professor Arnoz and His Followers, 1982), Veliki briljantni valček (The Great Brilliant Waltz, 1985), Halštat (Hallstatt, 1994), and Niha ura tiha (Silently Strikes a Clock, 2009); the short stories Smrt pri Mariji Snežni (Death at Maria of the Snow, 1985), Pogled angela (The Look of an Angel, 1992), Človek, ki je pogledal v tolmun (The Man Who Looked into a Tarn, 2004), and Joyceov učenec (Joyce’s Pupil, 2008); the essays Terra incognita (1989), Razbiti vrč (The Broken Pot, 1992), Egiptovski lonci mesa (Fleshpots of Egypt, 1995), Brioni (The Brionian Islands, 2002), and Duša Evrope (The Soul of Europe, 2006); and the several original scripts for feature films.
He has received several awards for his work, among them Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievement (1993), the European Short Story Prize of the City of Arnsberg, Germany (1994), the Kersnik Prize for the best Slovenian novel of the year (1999, 2001, 2011), the Herder Prize for Literature (2003), the Jean-Améry-Prize for Essays (2007), the Premio Hemingway prize (2009), and the Premio Mediterraneo prize (2009).