Amin Maalouf was born in Beirut in 1949.
He studied economics and sociology and worked as a journalist until the Lebanese war broke out in 1975. He then settled in Paris with his family and became editor-in-chief for the news magazine Jeune Afrique.
In 1983, he published his first book, The Crusades through Arab Eyes, followed in 1986 by his first novel, Leo the African. In 1993, his fifth novel, The Rock of Tanios, won the prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary award. Amin Maalouf's other novels include Ports of Call, Balthasar's Odyssey, Samarkand, and The Disoriented.
He has also published three highly acclaimed essays: In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong in 1998, Disordered World: Setting a New Course for the Twenty-first Century in 2009, and, in 2019, Le Naufrage des civilisations, which was published in English in 2020 under the title: Adrift. How Our World Lost Its Way. Amin Maalouf also wrote a number of opera libretti, including L'amour de loin and Adriana Mater for Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.
Among many prestigious distinctions, Amin Maalouf received the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature in Spain (2010), the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the United Arab Emirates (2016), the Calouste Gulbenkian Award in Portugal (2019), and, in 2020, both the Premio Malaparte and the Premio Terzani in Italy. His various books have been translated into more than fifty languages.
Amin Maalouf was elected to the Académie Française in June 2011.