Elaine Mokhtefi was born in New York. After the Second World War, she joined the youth movement for world peace and justice becoming director of a militant student organisation. In 1951 she settled in France and became a world of international organisations translator and interpreter in the new postwar. In 1960 she joined the small team in New York of the Algerian National Liberation Front and government in exile lobbying the United Nations to support the independence of Algeria. Once victorious, she made Algeria her home, working as a journalist and translator. She was married to the Algerian writer and liberation war veteran, Mokhtar Mokhtefi, who died in 2014. She lives in New York where she is a writer and painter.