Scliar was born and still lives in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. A physician since 1962, Scliar started his career as a writer telling stories about his experiences as a young doctor. He is a prolific writer and has produced more than 10 novels, many of which have won literary prizes. He studied at the Yiddish College in Porto Alegre and went to a Catholic school for his secondary studies. This childhood experience provided the imaginative background for many of his stories. His writing has much of what he called "his Jewishness": "As much as possible I live in peace with my Jewishness. I have extracted from it what it has of the best: fantasy, ethical substance, and above all, humor" (Escrever & Viver). The Centaur in the Garden is a story about a centaur who is Brazilian and Jewish, a fantasy of the half-horse, half-human child who grows into adulthood in search of his identity.
Ilan Stavans is the author of "The Hispanic Condition", "The Riddle of Cantinflas", & "The One-Handed Pianist & Other Stories" as well as the editor of "The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories" & a dictionary of Spanglish, among other volumes. He has been a National Book Critics Circle Award nominee & the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship & the Latino Literature Prize, among other honors. He teaches at Amherst College.