Thanassis Valtinos was born in an Arcadian village in the Peloponnesus in 1932. He first achieved national recognition with the publication of his widely read novellas The Descent of the Nine (1963) and The Book of Andreas Kordopatis (1964).
In addition to his novels, novellas and short stories, he has translated classical Greek drama for the Art Theater of the late Karolos Koun, and written film scripts in collaboration with film director Theodoros Angelopoulos, most notably the award-winning Voyage to Kythira (Cannes Film Festival, 1984)
His novel Data from the Decade of the Sixties won the National Book Award for Best Novel in 1990 and was short-listed for the Aristeion European Literature Prize in 1991. He was awarded the Cavafy Prize (2001), the Petros Haris Prize, conferred by the Academy of Athens for lifetime achievement (2002), and the Gold Cross of Honour of the President of the Greek Democracy (2003).
He served as president of the Society of Greek writers from 1990–1994, and again from 2005–2009. In 2008 he was elected a member of the Greek Academy.