Lília Momplé was born on the Island of Mozambique, into a family of mixed ethnic origins, including Makua, French, Indian, Chinese, and Mauritian. She attended the Instituto Superior de Serviço Social (Higher Institute of Social Service) in Lisbon and graduated with a degree in Social Services. In 1995, she became secretary general of the Association of Mozambican Authors, a position she held until 2001. She also represented Mozambique at various international meetings.
Many of Momplé's literary influences came from her grandmother, who, although she could not read or write, would always tell stories. These stories inspired young Lília because their heroes were often fragile creatures, rather than more typically powerful ones. Portuguese writers, such as Eça de Queirós and Fernando Pessoa, also influenced Momplé's career path. However, it was not until she read the writings of the Mozambican poet José Craveirinha that she made the decision to become a writer. Craveirinha was the first Mozambican author to portray African characters as protagonists in his poetry. Since Momplé was a teacher for many years, many of her stories focus on topics related to education. In her works, Lília Momplé also explores the traditional duties of women and expectations attending them within society, along with the hardships they face. She tends to emphasize issues of race, class, gender, and color and ethnic differences in her fiction.