Julia O'Faolain was born to Irish writers Sean and Eileen O'Faolain in London, 1932. She was educated at University College in Dublin, the University of Rome, and the Sorbonne. She worked as an editor, language teacher and translator. In 1968, she published We Might See the Sights, her first collection of short stories, which was followed by other collections, as well as novels, including Godded and Codded (1970) and No Country for Young Men (1980). She co-wrote Not in God's Image: Women in History from the Greeks to the Victorians with her husband, Lauro Martines.