Jose Manuel Prieto was born in Cuba and spent twelve years training and working as an engineer in the former Soviet Union before beginning a career as a writer and translator. His work, which includes essays, short stories, and translations, has been published all over the world. His novel Livadia appeared in the United States as Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire. He received a Latin American Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2002, and in 2004-2005 was the Margaret and Herman Sokol Fellow at The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library.
He currently lives in New York and Mexico City.