Gilles Pétel was born and raised in Dunkirk. After studying philosophy at the Université de Nice, he spent several years abroad teaching. In 1996 his first novel, Le Métier dans le sang, was published by Fayard. He has since written another four novels and a play. Pétel wrote his novel Under the Channel (published by Gallic in May 2014) while living in London at the time of the financial crisis and working as a teacher at the Lycée Français.