Famous 21st Century French Writers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Christopher Tolkien

Christopher Tolkien
5
Famous As: Editor
Birthdate: November 21, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Leeds, England
Died: January 16, 2020

Christopher Tolkien was a French and English academic editor. The son of legendary author J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher edited much of his father's work, which was published after his father's demise. Christopher Tolkien is also credited with drawing the original maps in, The Lord of the Rings, one of his father's highly acclaimed novels.

 2 Lilian Thuram

Lilian Thuram
6
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: January 1, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France

French former footballer Lilian Thuram, who is now a renowned author, with books on racism such as White Thinking to his credit. His 142 appearances for the French national team made him the most capped player of his country, while he was part of the 1998 FIFA World Cup-winning squad.

 3 Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin
4
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: December 18, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bourg-en-Bresse, French Third Republic France
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 4 Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert
4
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: March 2, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Antibes, France

 5 Anna Karina

Anna Karina
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Solbjerg, Denmark
Died: December 14, 2019

Anna Karina was a Danish-French film actress, singer, and director. She often collaborated with French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard and appeared in many of his films, including My Life to Live and Bande à part. She set up her own production company in 1972 and made her directorial debut with Vivre ensemble. She was also a published author. 

 6 Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi
8
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rasht, Iran

Marjane Satrapi is a graphic novelist, illustrator, cartoonist, children's book author, and film director. Satrapi achieved international recognition in the early-2000s after releasing her critically acclaimed graphic novels. She is best known for writing and directing an animated biographical drama film titled Persepolis, which received nominations at prestigious award ceremonies, such as the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globes.

 7 Michel Houellebecq

Michel Houellebecq
9
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Pierre, Réunion

Michel Houellebecq is a French author known for his novels, essays, and poems. He also occasionally makes films. As controversial as he is popular, he has been accused of obscenity, misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia. His works generally receive positive responses and some critics consider him one of the greatest living authors today. He is a recipient of the Prix Goncourt. 

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 8 Bruno Latour

Bruno Latour
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beaune, France

Holberg Prize-winning French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour had initially studied theology and even received his PhD in the subject. His later research Ivory Coast drew him to anthropology, and he soon gained fame as a renowned academic in the field, having co-written iconic books such as Laboratory Life.

 9 Robert Clary

Robert Clary
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

 10 Gabriel Matzneff

Gabriel Matzneff
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 12, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

 11 Mireille Mathieu

Mireille Mathieu
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Avignon, France
French singer Mireille Mathieu began her career by participating in an annual singing contest in Avignon. She has recorded over 1200 songs in eleven languages in her career spanning over four decades. With more than 150 million albums sold worldwide, the chanteuse is classically known for her illustrious crooning. In 1974, she won the German "Bambi" Music Award.

 12 Joël Robuchon

Joël Robuchon
4
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 7, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Poitiers, Vienne, France
Died: August 6, 2018

 13 Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak
5
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France

Known widely as Turkey’s most popular female author, Elif Shafak is best known for her Booker-shortlisted bestseller 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. A fierce advocate for gender equality and LGBTQ rights, she is also a 3-time TEDGlobal speaker. She now lives in London, on a self-imposed exile.

 14 Judith Godrèche

Judith Godrèche
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

 15 Bertrand Cantat

Bertrand Cantat
3
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist, Lyricist, Singer-songwriter, Poet
Birthdate: March 5, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pau

Former frontman of the French rock band Noir Désir, Bertrand Cantat made headlines when he beat his girlfriend actor Marie Trintignant to death in a Lithuanian hotel. His sentence of 8 years was later commuted to 4. His ex-wife Krisztina Rády later committed suicide in his presence at her home.

 16 Éric Zemmour

Éric Zemmour
3
Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: August 31, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreuil, France

French far-right politician Éric Zemmour gained fame on the show Face à l'Info. He has also been a prominent political journalist for publications such as Le Quotidien de Paris and Le Figaro. The founder-leader of Reconquête, he was grabbed by the neck by an unknown man at his first campaign rally.

 17 Yasmina Reza

Yasmina Reza
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: May 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

 18 Hélène Cixous

Hélène Cixous
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oran, Algeria

Hélène Cixous is a professor, poet, playwright, rhetorician, literary critic, philosopher, and French feminist writer. She is best known for writing an article titled The Laugh of the Medusa, which earned her popularity and established her as a thinker in post-structural feminism.

 19 Patrick Modiano

Patrick Modiano
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Nobel Prize-winning French author Patrick Modiano was born in Paris, in the post-World War II era, and was introduced to literature by his geometry teacher Raymond Queneau, who was also a writer. Modiano's novels, mostly containing a fusion of autobiographical and fictional elements, depicted the impact of war on people.

 20 Emmanuelle Riva

Emmanuelle Riva
6
Famous As: Former Actress best known for her roles in the films Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and Amour (2012)
Birthdate: February 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cheniménil, France
Died: January 27, 2017

Emmanuelle Riva was a French actress best remembered for her portrayal of Anne Laurent in the 2012 romantic drama film Amour for which she won the prestigious César Award as well as a BAFTA Award. Riva achieved national recognition when she played the lead role in the 1959 film Hiroshima mon amour for which she earned a BAFTA Award nomination.

 21 George Steiner

George Steiner
3
Famous As: Literary critic, Essayist, Philosopher, Novelist
Birthdate: April 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Died: February 3, 2020

 22 Renaud Camus

Renaud Camus
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chamalières, France

 23 Jacques Vallée

Jacques Vallée
3
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: September 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pontoise, Val-d'Oise, France

Jacques Vallée is a French computer scientist, Internet pioneer, venture capitalist, astronomer, ufologist, and author. Vallée is credited with co-developing the first computerized map of Mars, which was used by NASA in the 1960s. An influential personality in the study of UFOs, Jacques Vallée has promoted such hypothesis as the interdimensional hypothesis.

 24 Florian Zeller

Florian Zeller
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 28, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France

 25 Amin Maalouf

Amin Maalouf
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 25, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

 26 Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu Ricard
3
Famous As: Buddhist monk, author of more than a dozen books, including Happiness (2006), Why Meditate? (2010) and An Ode to Beauty (2016)
Birthdate: February 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aix-les-Bains, France

Matthieu Ricard is a French photographer, writer, translator, and Buddhist monk. He serves as a board member of the popular not-for-profit organization Mind and Life Institute. After having received a Ph.D. degree from the Pasteur Institute, Ricard gave up his scientific career to practice Tibetan Buddhism. He is also the co-founder of another international non-profit organization, Karuna-Shechen.

 27 Claude Lanzmann

Claude Lanzmann
3
Famous As: French filmmaker known for the Holocaust documentary film Shoah (1985)
Birthdate: November 27, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bois-Colombes, France
Died: July 5, 2018

 28 Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

 29 Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 13, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bressuire,France

 30 Michel Onfray

Michel Onfray
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Argentan, France

 31 Mijanou Bardot

Mijanou Bardot
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 5, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

 32 Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 17, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rabat, Morocco

 33 Céline Tran

Céline Tran
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 9, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lyon, France

 34 Jean-Pierre Thiollet

Jean-Pierre Thiollet
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: France

 35 Sophie Calle

Sophie Calle
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 9, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

Sophie Calle is a French photographer, writer, conceptual artist, and installation artist. Her work is associated with and evokes a popular French literary movement called Oulipo which came into existence in the 1960s. Renowned for her ability to investigate strangers, Calle’s work often depicts human vulnerability. Also an educator, Calle has taught at popular educational institutions like European Graduate School.

 36 Anne Wiazemsky

Anne Wiazemsky
3
Famous As: Former Actress, novelist who made her cinema debut at the age of 18, playing Marie, the lead character in Robert Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Birthdate: May 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: October 5, 2017

 37 Lucile Hadžihalilović

Lucile Hadžihalilović
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 7, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lyon, France

 38 Carine Roitfeld

Carine Roitfeld
3
Famous As: Fashion editor
Birthdate: September 19, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France

 39 Suha Arafat

Suha Arafat
5
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 17, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

 40 Gao Xingjian

Gao Xingjian
3
Famous As: Novelist, Playwright, Painter
Birthdate: January 4, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ganzhou, China

 41 Édouard Louis

Édouard Louis
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 30, 1992
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Picardie, France

Édouard Louis is a French writer whose literary work is often inspired by the hardships that he faced during his childhood. His autobiographical novel En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule, which became the subject of extensive media attention, was praised for its compelling story. The novel earned him the 2014 Pierre Guénin Prize.

 42 Marie Drucker

Marie Drucker
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: December 3, 1974
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

 43 Bernard Werber

Bernard Werber
3
Famous As: Science fiction writer best known for his Les Fourmis book trilogy
Birthdate: September 18, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toulouse, France

French sci-fi author Bernard Werber is best known for his trilogy Les Fourmis, which gained international fame as The Ants. He is known for his signature style of using animals symbolically in his works. He is part of the Institute for Research on Extraordinary Experiences, and his interests include paranormal experiences.

 44 Virginie Despentes

Virginie Despentes
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nancy, France

 45 J. M. G. Le Clézio

J. M. G. Le Clézio
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 13, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nice, France

Nobel Prize-winning French-Mauritian author J. M. G. Le Clézio is also a renowned academician who has taught at Nanjing University. His debut novel, Le Procès-Verbal, or The Interrogation, which he had penned at 23, won him the Prix Renaudot. His works also include short stories, children’s tales, and travel diaries.

 46 Élisabeth Depardieu

Élisabeth Depardieu
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 5, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France

 47 Enki Bilal

Enki Bilal
3
Famous As: Comic book creator
Birthdate: October 7, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia

 48 François-Marie Banier

François-Marie Banier
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 27, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France

François-Marie Banier is a French playwright, novelist, photographer, artist, and actor. Renowned for his photographs of public figures and celebrities, Banier is also known for his wide circle of friends and acquaintances with members of high society. In 2016, François-Marie Banier became entangled in a prominent legal case in which he was convicted of exploiting elderly billionaire Liliane Bettencourt.

 49 Jacques Rivette

Jacques Rivette
3
Famous As: Former director and film critic most commonly associated with the French New Wave and the film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma
Birthdate: March 1, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: January 29, 2016

Jacques Rivette was a French film critic and director. One of the most important members of the French New Wave, Rivette's work is renowned for its loose narratives, improvisation, and lengthy running times. Rivette, who started his career as a film critic, worked for the film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma and his articles helped popularize the magazine in the 1960s.

 50 Fred Vargas

Fred Vargas
3
Famous As: Historian, Archaeologist and novelist
Birthdate: June 7, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Fred Vargas is a French archaeologist, historian, and novelist. She is best known for her work on the bubonic plague, the Black Death. In 2009, she became the first author to win three International Dagger Awards for three consecutive novels, having won the award in 2006 and 2008. In 2018, she was honored with the prestigious Princess of Asturias Prize.