Jean-Claude Charles (1949-2008) emigrated to the U.S. from Haiti as a young man and, first in Chicago and then in New York, established himself as a talented author. He later moved to France where he studied journalism and information technology at the Strasbourg School of Journalism and earned his master's degree at the University of Paris in the Department of Science Studies and Communication Techniques. He remained in Paris for several years writing for the daily Le Monde’s travel section.
Charles later worked as a poet, novelist, screenwriter, stage manager, and author for documentaries and television. He then co-produced a French radio series and from 2003 to 2006, he was a columnist for the Haiti Tribune. Charles spent much of his life dividing time between New York and Paris, thus inspiring his famous protagonist, Ferdinand, of his two novels: Manhattan Blues and Ferdinand I am in Paris.