Poirot-Delpech came from a family of academics and doctors. His ancestors included several surgeons. His father died in 1940.
He attended Stanislas and Louis-le-Grand secondary schools, completing his khâgne at the latter.
At the age of 22, he began his career as a journalist with Le Monde. He successively had charge of several sections: the university column (1951-1955), the "Great Trials" column (1956-1959) and the theatre criticism section (1960-1971). In 1972, he took over as a reviewer for the "Monde des Livres". Beginning in 1989, he wrote a weekly column in Le Monde.
Bertrand Poirot-Delpech chaired the Syndicat de la Critique Dramatique (1970-1972) and he was a member of the reading committee of the Comédie-Française.
In addition to several published novels, he wrote screenplays for television and the cinema.
1958 Le Grand Dadais (Denoël) 1960 La Grasse Matinée (Denoël) 1962 L’Envers de l’eau (Denoël) 1966 Au soir le soir (Mercure de France) 1969 Finie la comédie (Gallimard) 1970 La Folle de Lituanie (Gallimard)
1973 Les Grands de ce monde (Gallimard)
1976 La Légende du siècle (Gallimard)
1979 Saïd et moi (Le Seuil)
1980 Marie Duplessis (Ramsay)
1981 Feuilletons (Gallimard)
1982 Le Couloir du dancing (Gallimard)
1985 L’Été 36 (Gallimard)
1986 Bonjour Sagan (Herscher)
1987 Monsieur Barbie n’a rien à dire (Gallimard)
1988 Le Golfe de Gascogne (Gallimard)
1989 Traversées (Flammarion)
1994 L’Amour de l’humanité (Gallimard)
1995 Diagonales (Gallimard)
1997 L’Alerte, théâtre (Gallimard)
1998 Théâtre d’ombres, journal (Le Seuil)
1998 Papon : un crime de bureau (Stock)
1999 Monsieur le Prince (Gallimard)
2001 J'écris Paludes (Gallimard)
2002 J'ai pas pleuré, avec Ida Grinspan (Robert Laffont)