Singer and novelist Mounsi was born in Algeria and sent as a child to live with his father in the industrial Parisian suburb, Nanterre. In borstal he discovered the poetry of François Villon and turned to writing. Mounsi's novel, La noce des fous, (published in English as The Demented Dance), received four awards in France and the UK. His other award-winning books include La Cendre des Villes, Le Voyage des Ames, Territoire d'outre-ville and Les sauvageons expliqués aux fils des ministres. Although his mother tongues are Kabyle and Arabic, Mounsi writes in French, which he calls "the language of the hold-up." He lives with his family in Nice and is working on a new novel, La prophécie du serpent.