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
(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
(Diarist)

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.

George Sand
4
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.

 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
(Philosopher)

Julia Kristeva
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria
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 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 

Kathleen O'Meara
3
Birthdate: 1839 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 10, 1888

 13 
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

 14 

Emmanuelle Arsan
3
Birthdate: January 19, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand
Died: June 12, 2005

 15 

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

 16 
Fred Vargas
(Historian, Archaeologist and novelist)

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 
Yasmina Reza
(Playwright)

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

 20 
Anne Desclos
(Journalist)

Anne Desclos
2
Birthdate: September 23, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rochefort, France
Died: April 27, 1998

 21 

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.

 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 
Anna Kavan
(Novelist)

Anna Kavan
2
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. 

 26 

Justine Lévy
2
Birthdate: September 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

 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 

Frieda Lawrence
2
Birthdate: August 11, 1879
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Grand Est, France
Died: August 11, 1956

 30 
Nathalie Sarraute
(Writer, Lawyer)

Nathalie Sarraute
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ivanovo, Russia
Died: October 19, 1999

 31 
Vernon Lee
(Writer)

Vernon Lee
2
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.

 32 

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

 33 

Delphine de Vigan
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

 34 
Anna Gavalda
(Novelist)

Anna Gavalda
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

 35 
Aurelie Filippetti
(Politician)

Aurelie Filippetti
2
Birthdate: June 17, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Villerupt, France

 36 

Anna de Noailles
2
Birthdate: November 15, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 30, 1933

 37 

Elisabeth Beresford
2
Birthdate: August 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 24, 2010

 38 
Amanda Sthers
(Novelist)

Amanda Sthers
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

 39 

Ludmilla Tchérina
2
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.

 40 

Marthe Bibesco
2
Birthdate: January 28, 1886
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania
Died: November 28, 1973

 41 

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

 42 

Countess of Ségur
2
Birthdate: August 1, 1799
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: February 8, 1874

 43 
Marie NDiaye
(Novelist)

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

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

 45 

Marie-Claire Blais
1
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. 

 46 

Nina Berberova
1
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 

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

Claudine-Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin
1
Birthdate: April 27, 1682
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grenoble, France
Died: December 4, 1749

 50 

Julie de Lespinasse
1
Birthdate: November 9, 1732
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: May 23, 1776