French Female Novelists

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.

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 Colette

Colette
4
Famous As: Novelist
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

Anais Nin
4
Famous As: Diarist
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

George Sand
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Birthdate: July 1, 1804
Sun Sign: Cancer
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.
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 4 Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi
4
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.

 5 Betsy Drake

Betsy Drake
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Famous As: Actor, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Stage actor, Television actor, Model
Birthdate: September 11, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: October 27, 2015

 6 Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras
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Famous As: Writer, Film director, Screenwriter, Publisher, Novelist, Playwright, Autobiographer, Journalist, Poet lawyer, Feminist
Birthdate: April 4, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ho Chi Minh City
Died: March 3, 1996

 7 Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria
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 8 Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France

 9 Françoise Sagan

Françoise Sagan
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: June 21, 1935
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cajarc, France
Died: September 24, 2004

 10 Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat
3
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 13, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bressuire,France

 11 Irene Nemirovsky

Irene Nemirovsky
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine, Russian Empire
Died: August 17, 1942

 12 Kathleen O'Meara

Kathleen O'Meara
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1839 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 10, 1888

 13 Marguerite Yourcenar

Marguerite Yourcenar
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 8, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: December 17, 1987

 14 Anne Wiazemsky

Anne Wiazemsky
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Famous As: Actor, Film director, Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: May 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin

 15 Virginie Despentes

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

 16 Emmanuelle Arsan

Emmanuelle Arsan
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Famous As: Writer, Actor, Screenwriter, Model
Birthdate: January 19, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bangkok
Died: June 12, 2005

 17 Fred Vargas

Fred Vargas
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Famous As: Writer, Archaeologist, Novelist, Historian
Birthdate: June 7, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris

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.

 18 Monique Wittig

Monique Wittig
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 13, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dannemarie, France
Died: January 3, 2003
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 19 Ouida

Ouida
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 1, 1839
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bury Saint Edmunds, England
Died: January 25, 1908

 20 Anne Desclos

Anne Desclos
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: September 23, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rochefort, France
Died: April 27, 1998

 21 Yasmina Reza

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

 22 Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

 23 Liane de Pougy

Liane de Pougy
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Famous As: Vedette
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.

 24 Madame d'Aulnoy

Madame d'Aulnoy
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1651 AD
Birthplace: Barneville-la-Bertran, France
Died: January 4, 1705

 25 Madame de La Fayette

Madame de La Fayette
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 18, 1634
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 25, 1693

 26 Justine Lévy

Justine Lévy
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Famous As: Editor
Birthdate: September 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

 27 Brigitte Fontaine

Brigitte Fontaine
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Morlaix, France

 28 Muriel Barbery

Muriel Barbery
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Casablanca, Morocco

 29 Anna Kavan

Anna Kavan
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 10, 1901
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cannes, France
Died: December 5, 1968
Author Helen Ferguson gained fame as Anna Kavan later, a name she had taken up as her legal identity and not as a pseudonym. Known for her works such as I Am Lazarus, she was engulfed by mental disorders and drug addiction and had even attempted suicide multiple times. 

 30 Frieda Lawrence

Frieda Lawrence
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 11, 1879
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Grand Est, France
Died: August 11, 1956

 31 Madeleine de Scudéry

Madeleine de Scudéry
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 15, 1607
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Le Havre, France
Died: June 2, 1701

 32 Vernon Lee

Vernon Lee
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
Died: February 13, 1935

British author Violet Page wrote under the pseudonym Vernon Lee and dressed without inhibitions. Rumors claimed she was a lesbian, though she never stated so. The poet and critic is best remembered for her work on aesthetics, Belcaro. She was also a skilled harpsichord player and a true-blue feminist.

 33 Delphine de Vigan

Delphine de Vigan
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

 34 Anna Gavalda

Anna Gavalda
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 9, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt

 35 Aurelie Filippetti

Aurelie Filippetti
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 17, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Villerupt, France

 36 Elisabeth Beresford

Elisabeth Beresford
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 24, 2010

 37 Anna de Noailles

Anna de Noailles
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 15, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 30, 1933

 38 Ludmilla Tchérina

Ludmilla Tchérina
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Famous As: Ballerina
Birthdate: October 10, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 21, 2004

Ludmilla Tchérina was a French prima ballerina, actress, sculptor, painter, author, and choreographer. In 1942, she became the youngest prima ballerina when she made her debut, creating the role of Juliet in Serge Lifar's Romeo and Juliet. Although she had a lifelong passion for sculpting and painting, Ludmilla Tchérina is primarily remembered for her skills as an actress.

 39 Amanda Sthers

Amanda Sthers
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 18, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

 40 Marthe Bibesco

Marthe Bibesco
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 28, 1886
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania
Died: November 28, 1973

 41 Countess of Ségur

Countess of Ségur
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 1, 1799
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: February 8, 1874

 42 Nadine Trintignant

Nadine Trintignant
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: November 11, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nice, France

 43 Marie NDiaye

Marie NDiaye
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 4, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pithiviers, Loiret, France

 44 Andrée Chedid

Andrée Chedid
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Famous As: Poet
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.

 45 Stéphanie Félicité, comtesse de Genlis

Stéphanie Félicité, comtesse de Genlis
1
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 25, 1746
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Issy-l'Évêque, Saône-et-Loire
Died: December 31, 1830

 46 Nina Berberova

Nina Berberova
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 26, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died: September 26, 1993

Russian author Nina Berberova was initially part of Maxim Gorky’s entourage. Best known for her short stories and novellas, she had also penned biographies, novels, and poetry. She had also worked with Voice of America and taught at Yale and Princeton. Most of her works spoke of exiles.

 47 Marie-Claire Blais

Marie-Claire Blais
1
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Quebec, Canada

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. 

 48 Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 20, 1786
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Douai, France
Died: July 23, 1859

 49 Julie de Lespinasse

Julie de Lespinasse
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Famous As: FrWriter
Birthdate: November 9, 1732
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: May 23, 1776

 50 Jane Dieulafoy

Jane Dieulafoy
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Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: June 29, 1851
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
Died: May 25, 1916