Hoda Barakat was born in 1952 in a village in the mountains of northern Lebanon. Not long before the civil war broke out, Barakat lived in Beirut, where she received her degree in Arabic Literature from the University of Lebanon in 1975. In 1989, she moved from West Beirut to Paris, where she lives and works as a journalist.
In 1985, she published her first collection of short stories, Za'irat. Shortly after leaving Lebanon, Barakat published her first novel, entitled Hajar al-dahak, which received the Al-Naqid award and has since been translated into English, Dutch, and French. Her second novel, Ahl al-hawa (1993), has been translated into Italian, French, and Spanish. Her third novel, Harit al-miyah (1999), received the 2000 Naghib Mahfus award and has been translated into French and English.