Tolis Nikiforou was born in Thessaloniki in 1938 to parents who were refugees from Asia Minor and Eastern Romily. He graduated from Anatolia College in 1957, studied law for two years and then business management. He worked as a bank clerk, translator-interpreter and systems analyst in Thessaloniki, Athens – and, during the dictatorship – in London.
After traveling widely abroad he settled permanently in Thessaloniki, where he worked as a business consultant until 1999.
He started writing when still a schoolboy and was literary editor of his college magazine. His first publication was a long poem, The Unburied, in 1966. He has published 22 books. Poems of his have been translated into English, Bulgarian, French, German, Spanish and Italian and are included in many anthologies in Greece and abroad.