French Female Novelists

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Throughout history, there have been many French female novelists who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great French female novelists such as Simone de Beauvoir, George Sand, Marjane Satrapi, Colette, Anna Karina.
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 1 
Colette
(Best Known for Her Novel 'Gigi')
Colette
4
Birthdate: January 28, 1873
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, France
Died: August 3, 1954

Colette was a French author who received a nomination for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. She is remembered for her novella Gigi, which inspired the 1958 movie and the 1973 musical of the same name. Her life and work have inspired several films, including the 2018 biographical drama film Colette, where Keira Knightley played the title role.

 2 
Anais Nin
(French-Born American Novelist, Diarist and Short Story Writer)
Anais Nin
5
Birthdate: February 21, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France
Died: January 14, 1977

French-Cuban-American diarist, essayist, and novelist Anais Nin wrote several volumes of journals, erotica, novels, critical studies, essays, and short stories. Her journals and diaries are among her most studied works. She had a deep interest in psychoanalysis and studied it extensively with René Allendy and Otto Rank. Critics consider her one of the finest writers of female erotica.

 3 
George Sand
(One of the Most Popular Writers in Europe in Her Lifetime)
George Sand
4
Birthdate: July 1, 1804
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 8, 1876
Nineteenth-century French author Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, better known as George Sand, became a leading figure of the Romantic era of Europe. She is best remembered for works such as La Petite Fadette and had numerous affairs, the most notable of them being the one with composer Frédéric Chopin.
 4 
Marjane Satrapi
(Graphic Novelist Known for Her Works 'Persepolis' and 'Chicken with Plums')
Marjane Satrapi
4
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.

 5 
Elif Shafak
(Writer)
Elif Shafak
3
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.

 6 
Marguerite Duras
(Former novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and experimental filmmaker)
Marguerite Duras
3
Birthdate: April 4, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vietnam
Died: March 3, 1996
 7 
Julia Kristeva
(Bulgarian-French Author and Academic Whose Themes Surrounded on Feminism, Semiotics, and Psychoanalysis)
Julia Kristeva
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

Bulgarian-born French author and literary critic Julia Kristeva is also a professor at the University Paris Diderot. Her writings, such as the Female Genius trilogy, are centered around feminism, semiotics, and psychoanalysis. She has also pioneered semanalysis and has been recognized with honors such as Commander of the Legion of Honor.

 8 
Françoise Sagan
(Playwright)
Françoise Sagan
5
Birthdate: June 21, 1935
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cajarc, France
Died: September 24, 2004
 9 
Catherine Breillat
4
Birthdate: July 13, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bressuire,France
 10 
Irene Nemirovsky
4
Birthdate: February 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine, Russian Empire
Died: August 17, 1942
 11 
Marguerite Yourcenar
(French Novelist, Essayist and First Woman Elected to the 'Académie Française')
Marguerite Yourcenar
3
Birthdate: June 8, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: December 17, 1987

Belgian-born French novelist Marguerite Yourcenar, who later settled in the US, is best remembered for her award-winning works such as Mémoires d'Hadrien. She was also the first female member to be elected to the Académie Française. She used an anagram of her original last name, Crayencour, as her surname.

 12 
Anne Wiazemsky
(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))
Anne Wiazemsky
3
Birthdate: May 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: October 5, 2017
 13 
Emmanuelle Arsan
3
Birthdate: January 19, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand
Died: June 12, 2005
 14 
Kathleen O'Meara
3
Birthdate: 1839 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 10, 1888
 15 
Virginie Despentes
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nancy, France
 16 
Fred Vargas
(French Historian, Archaeologist and Novelist Known for Her Work on the 'Black Death')
Fred Vargas
3
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.

 17 
Monique Wittig
(Novelist)
Monique Wittig
2
Birthdate: July 13, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dannemarie, France
Died: January 3, 2003
 18 
Maryse Condé
(Novelist)
Maryse Condé
2
Birthdate: February 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe
 19 
Liane de Pougy
2
Birthdate: July 2, 1869
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: La Flèche, France
Died: December 26, 1950

Liane de Pougy was a French dancer and vedette who performed at the Folies Bergère in Paris. Remembered for her captivating looks, de Pougy was widely regarded as one of Paris's most notorious courtesans. She also served as the subject for many artists like Paul César Helleu and Jean Baptiste Guth.

 20 
Yasmina Reza
(Playwright)
Yasmina Reza
3
Birthdate: May 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
 21 
Anne Desclos
(Journalist)
Anne Desclos
2
Birthdate: September 23, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rochefort, France
Died: April 27, 1998
 22 
Ouida
(Novelist)
Ouida
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1839
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bury Saint Edmunds, England
Died: January 25, 1908
 23 
Madame d'Aulnoy
2
Birthdate: 1651 AD
Birthplace: Barneville-la-Bertran, France
Died: January 4, 1705
 24 
Madame de La Fayette
2
Birthdate: March 18, 1634
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 25, 1693
 25 
Justine Lévy
2
Birthdate: September 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
 26 
Frieda Lawrence
2
Birthdate: August 11, 1879
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Grand Est, France
Died: August 11, 1956
 27 
Muriel Barbery
(Novelist)
Muriel Barbery
2
Birthdate: May 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Casablanca, Morocco
 28 
Brigitte Fontaine
2
Birthdate: June 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Morlaix, France
 29 
Delphine de Vigan
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
 30 
Nathalie Sarraute
(Writer, Lawyer)
Nathalie Sarraute
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ivanovo, Russia
Died: October 19, 1999
 31 
Madeleine de Scudéry
2
Birthdate: November 15, 1607
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Le Havre, France
Died: June 2, 1701
 32 
Aurelie Filippetti
(Politician)
Aurelie Filippetti
2
Birthdate: June 17, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Villerupt, France
 33 
Anna Gavalda
(Novelist)
Anna Gavalda
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
 34 
Anna de Noailles
2
Birthdate: November 15, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 30, 1933
 35 
Nadine Trintignant
(French Film Producer, Director, Screenwriter, Editor, and Novelist)
Nadine Trintignant
2
Birthdate: November 11, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nice, France

Nadine Trintignant is a French film producer, director, screenwriter, editor, and novelist. She is best known for making movies that discuss family and relationships. In 1967, her movie Mon amour, mon amour earned a nomination for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

 36 
Elisabeth Beresford
2
Birthdate: August 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 24, 2010
 37 
Amanda Sthers
(Novelist)
Amanda Sthers
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
 38 
Marthe Bibesco
2
Birthdate: January 28, 1886
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania
Died: November 28, 1973
 39 
Countess of Ségur
2
Birthdate: August 1, 1799
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: February 8, 1874
 40 
Marie NDiaye
(Novelist)
Marie NDiaye
2
Birthdate: June 4, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pithiviers, Loiret, France
 41 
Marie-Claire Blais
(Canadian Writer, Novelist, Poet, and Playwright)
Marie-Claire Blais
1
Birthdate: October 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Quebec, Canada
Died: November 30, 2021

Marie-Claire Blais is a French Canadian writer, poet, and playwright. Born into a blue-collar family, she was unable to pursue full-time education. However, she did attend a few classes at Université Laval and began her literary career at the age of 20. She eventually became a successful author with numerous novels, plays, and poetry collections to her name. 

Stéphanie Félicité, comtesse de Genlis
1
Birthdate: January 25, 1746
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Issy-l'Évêque, Saône-et-Loire
Died: December 31, 1830
 43 
Andrée Chedid
(French Poet and Novelist)
Andrée Chedid
1
Birthdate: March 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Died: February 6, 2011

Born to Lebanese parents in Egypt, Andrée Chedid initially aspired to become a dancer. At 22, she married a physician in Cairo, and they later moved to Paris. Best known for her internationally renowned novel L'Autre, she has also penned several poems, short stories, and children’s tales.

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore
1
Birthdate: June 20, 1786
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Douai, France
Died: July 23, 1859
 45 
Julie de Lespinasse
1
Birthdate: November 9, 1732
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: May 23, 1776
 46 
Jane Dieulafoy
(Archaeologist)
Jane Dieulafoy
1
Birthdate: June 29, 1851
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
Died: May 25, 1916
Claudine-Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin
1
Birthdate: April 27, 1682
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grenoble, France
Died: December 4, 1749
 48 
Simone Schwarz-Bart
(Novelist, playwright who was recipient of the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle (1973))
Simone Schwarz-Bart
1
Birthdate: 1938 AD
Birthplace: Saintes, France
 49 
Tereska Torrès
1
Birthdate: September 3, 1920
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 20, 2012
 50 
Calixthe Beyala
1
Birthdate: October 26, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Douala