French novelist. His novels blend traditional storytelling with elements of fantasy and eroticism. He is an Officier de la Légion d'honneur.
Born in Paris, Tournier enjoyed a successful and varied career as a broadcaster, translator, and publisher before turning to writing. His first novel, Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique (1967; translated as Friday and Robinson: Life on Speranza Island, 1972), based on the classic story of Robinson Crusoe, was awarded the Grand Prix du Roman of the Académie Française. Le Roi des Aulnes (1970; translated as The Erl King, 1972), in which Tournier explores the myths of St Christopher and the Erl King, won for its author the Prix Goncourt. His other works include Les Météores (1975; translated as Gemini, 1981), Gaspard, Melchior et Balthazar (1980; translated as The Four Wise Men, 1982), an extended version of the story of the Magi, Gilles et Jeanne (1983), La Goutte d'or (1986), and La Couleuvrine (1994).