Born to an Andalusian family in Fériana, Tunisia, Mustapha Tlili was educated at the Sorbonne and in the United States. He worked at the United Nations from 1967 to 1982. He is the founder-director of the Center for Dialogues: Islamic World-US/The West based at New York University.
His novel Lion Mountain, dealing with Tunisian corruption, has been banned in Tunisia.
- La rage aux tripes [Visceral Anger], 1975
- Le bruit dort [The Noise Sleeps], 1978
- Gloire des sables [Glory of the Sands], 1982
- (ed. with Jacques Derrida) For Nelson Mandela, New York: Seaver Books, 1987
- La montagne du lion [Lion Mountain], Paris: Gallimard, 1988. Translated by Linda Coverdale as Lion Mountain, New York: Arcade Pub., 1990.
- United States. Congress. House (1968). Hearings. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 1437. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Mustapha Tlili at the English PEN Online World Atlas
- Donna Wheeler; Paul Clammer; Emilie Filou (1 July 2010). Tunisia. Lonely Planet. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-1-74179-001-6. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
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