Jean-Claude Mourlevat was born in Ambert, Auvergne in 1952 in a farming family. He studied in Strasbourg, Toulouse, Bonn and Paris, and worked as a German teacher in college before becoming an actor. He performed as the clown character Guedoulde in a show that toured France and internationally and has also staged works by Brecht, Cocteau and Shakespeare. Jean-Claude Mourlevat turned to writing for children in the late 1990s and has since published numerous books for young readers and won several awards including the Prix des Incorruptibles and the Sorcières Prix
He lives near Saint-Étienne, with his wife and their two children.