Hoda Barakat was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1952. She graduated with a degree in French literature from the Lebanese University in 1975 and worked as a teacher, translator, and journalist. She has published five novels, two plays, a book of short stories and a book of memoirs. Her work has been translated into a number of languages. She has received critical acclaim in the Arab world and abroad and was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for her novel The Tiller of Waters and the al-Nagid Award for The Stone of Laughter. In 2002 she became Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and then the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite National in 2008. She currently lives in Paris.