J. M. G. Le Clézio was born in 1940 in Nice, where he did his primary, secondary, and university studies. In 1963, he scored a major success with his first novel, Le Proces Verbal, which received the coveted Prix Renaudot.
From 1967 to 1970, he spent several periods of time living with a tribe of Embera Indians in the Panamanian jungles and learned their language. His interest in Indian culture is expressed in several works, including Hai. He later moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he taught literature at the University of New Mexico and translated Native American myths.
In 1978, he published Mondo et autres histoires [Mondo and other Stories], which became a landmark of contemporary French literature. The author of over twenty-seven books, his latest novel is Peuple du ciel. He returned to Nice in 1996.