The Author

Amin Maalouf was born in Beirut in 1949 and raised in a family of writers and journalists.

After graduating in economics and sociology, he too turned to journalism, specializing in international politics and visiting numerous countries as a foreign correspondent. He contributed to the Lebanese daily “Al-Nahar” but in 1976, when the war ravaged his country, he moved to France, where he became chief editor of “Jeune Afrique”.?


1983 saw his literary debut with Les croisades vues par les arabes (The Crusades through Arab Eyes, 1989), which was hugely successful and brought him an international following. On the crest of this success, in 1985 he became a full-time writer.


His historical novel Léon l’Africain (Leo Africanus, 1987 and 1995) was published in 1986.


In 1988 he received the Prix des Maisons de la Presse for his Samarcande (Samarkand, 1989 and 1994), a work inspired by the life of Omar Khayyam, the Persian poet and astronomer who died at the beginning of the XIII century.


In 1991, Maalouf published Les jardins de lumière (The Gardens of Light, 1993, 1996 and 2000), describing the life of the Mesopotamian religious thinker Mani, founder of Manichaeism.


The following year saw the publication of his novel Le premier siècle après Béatrice (The First Century after Beatrice, 2001), followed by Rocher de Tanios (The Rock of Tanios, 1994 and 1999), for which he was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1993.


In 1996, Maalouf published Les échelles du Levant (Ports of Call, 1997 and 2000), receiving the Vittorini e Nonino literary awards in 1998.


In 1998 he published Les identités meurtrières (In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong, 1999) which won the Charles Veillon Prize for European literature.


In 2000 Maalouf published his latest novel, Le périple de Baldassare (Balthasar’s Odyssey, 2000), for which he was awarded the Prix Grinzane Cavour in 2001.


As a highly-successful writer and essayist, his books have been translated into thirty languages.


Maalouf is also the author of the opera libretto L’amour de loin (Love from Afar) which, with music by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, was staged at the Salzburg Festival in the summer of 2000.


Maalouf lives and works in Paris.