Ibrahim al-Koni was born in Libya in 1948. A Tuareg who writes in Arabic, he spent his childhood in the desert and learned to read and write Arabic when he was 12. Al-Koni studied comparative literature at the Maxim Gorky Institute in Moscow, later becoming a journalist. He worked at the Libyan Cultural Institute in Moscow and as a journalist and editor at a cultural magazine in Warsaw before moving to Switzerland.
Al-Koni has written more than 60 novels, short stories, poems and aphorisms, all inspired by the desert. His work has won him numerous important prizes in the Arab world, including the Mohamed Zefzaf Prize for the Arabic Novel in 2005 and the 2008 Sheikh Zayed Award for Literature.
Al-Koni has lived in Switzerland since 1993.