French Female Writers

Throughout history, there have been many French women writers who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great French female writers such as Simone de Beauvoir, George Sand, Marjane Satrapi, Christine de Pizan, Sophie Marceau.

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
8
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 George Sand

George Sand
8
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.

 3 Anais Nin

Anais Nin
6
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.

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 4 Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir
12
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1986
French author and existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir is best remembered for her feminist treatise The Second Sex and her novels The Mandarins and She Came to Stay. Her literary contributions also include essays, biographies, and her autobiographical works. She won the Prix Goncourt and the Jerusalem Prize.

 5 Ève Curie

Ève Curie
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 22, 2007

French and American writer, journalist, and pianist Ève Curie was one of the daughters of scientists Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. She was the only one in the Curie family who did not choose a career in science. She authored her mother’s biography and was actively involved with UNICEF, helping women and children in developing countries.

 6 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. 

 7 Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: May 7, 1748
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montauban, France
Died: November 3, 1793

Olympe de Gouges was an 18th-century French playwright and political activist. Her writings on women's rights and abolitionism were popular in various countries. She was an outspoken advocate against the slave trade in the French colonies. She demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men. She was executed during the Reign of Terror.

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 8 Dora Maar

Dora Maar
6
Famous As: Photographer, Artist, Painter, Poet, Choreographer, Sculptor, Model
Birthdate: November 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: July 16, 1997

Born to a French mother and a Croatian father, Dora Maar spent her childhood in Argentina and later studied art in Paris. The renowned surrealist artist and photographer later gained fame as Pablo Picasso’s lover and muse, and was featured in his paintings such as Weeping Woman.

 9 Mylène Farmer

Mylène Farmer
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Actress
Birthdate: September 12, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pierrefonds, Montreal, Canada

French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer is best known for her hits such as Libertine and Les Mots, and for her collaborative acts with Laurent Boutonnat. Born Mylene Jeanne Gautier, she later changed her name to Mylene Farmer in honor of Hollywood star Frances Farmer, who was her idol.

 10 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.

 11 Betsy Drake

Betsy Drake
5
Famous As: Actor, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Stage actor, Television actor, Model
Birthdate: September 11, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: October 27, 2015

 12 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.

 13 Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras
3
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

 14 Françoise Sagan

Françoise Sagan
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: June 21, 1935
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cajarc, France
Died: September 24, 2004

 15 Julia Kristeva

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

 16 Marguerite Yourcenar

Marguerite Yourcenar
3
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 17 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.

 18 Judith Godrèche

Judith Godrèche
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
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 19 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.

 20 Héloïse

Héloïse
3
Famous As: French nun
Birthdate: 1101 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 16, 1164
French nun Héloïse was also a philosopher, writer, and abbess and was a renowned "woman of letters". She was noted as a  philosopher of love and friendship. In 1147, she was granted the rank of prelate nullius, approximately the level of a bishop. Her surviving letters are considered a foundation of French and European literature and inspiration for courtly love.

 21 Savitri Devi

Savitri Devi
3
Famous As: Writer, Poet
Birthdate: September 30, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: October 22, 1982

Born in Lyon, Frenchwoman Maximiani Julia Portas later changed her name to Savitri Devi and adopted Nazism. The ardent cat lover earned a PhD in philosophy and later acquired Greek nationality and served as an Axis spy. She claimed Adolf Hitler was an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.

 22 Emmanuelle Riva

Emmanuelle Riva
6
Famous As: Actor, Photographer, Poet
Birthdate: February 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cheniménil
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.

 23 Germaine de Staël

Germaine de Staël
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 22, 1766
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 14, 1817

Germaine de Staël was a French political theorist and woman of letters. She is best remembered for her collaboration with the popular  Swiss-French political thinker Benjamin Constant. Germaine, who was way ahead of her time, is widely regarded as a precursor of feminism.

 24 Irene Nemirovsky

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

 25 Yasmina Reza

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

 26 Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont

Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 26, 1711
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: September 8, 1780

 27 Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat
5
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 13, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bressuire,France

 28 Adah Isaacs Menken

Adah Isaacs Menken
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 15, 1835
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: August 10, 1868

 29 Mijanou Bardot

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

 30 Céline Tran

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

 31 Marie De France

Marie De France
3
Famous As: French poet
Birthdate: 1160 AD
Birthplace: France
Died: 1215 AD

 32 Kathleen O'Meara

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

 33 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.

 34 Anne Wiazemsky

Anne Wiazemsky
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: May 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin

 35 Princess Marie Bonaparte

Princess Marie Bonaparte
5
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 2, 1882
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Cloud, French Third Republic
Died: September 21, 1962

 36 Carine Roitfeld

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

 37 Lucile Hadžihalilović

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

 38 Simone Beck

Simone Beck
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 7, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Died: December 20, 1991

 39 Suha Arafat

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

 40 Ninon de l'Enclos

Ninon de l'Enclos
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 10, 1620
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 17, 1705

 41 Marie Drucker

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

 42 Isabelle Collin Dufresne

Isabelle Collin Dufresne
3
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: September 6, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: La Tronche, France
Died: June 14, 2014

 43 Virginie Despentes

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

 44 Emmanuelle Arsan

Emmanuelle Arsan
5
Famous As: Writer, Actor, Screenwriter, Model
Birthdate: January 19, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bangkok
Died: June 12, 2005

 45 Élisabeth Depardieu

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

 46 Fred Vargas

Fred Vargas
3
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.

 47 Bahia Bakari

Bahia Bakari
0
Famous As: Sole survivor of Yemenia Flight 626
Birthdate: August 15, 1996
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Evry, France

 48 Freya Stark

Freya Stark
5
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: January 31, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 9, 1993

Freya Stark was an Anglo-Italian travel writer and explorer. One of the first non-Arabs to explore the southern Arabian Desert, Stark penned down over 24 books on her travels in Afghanistan and the Middle East. She also wrote many essays and autobiographical works. In 1968, Freya Stark embarked on her last expedition to Afghanistan at the age of 75.

 49 Moira Lister

Moira Lister
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 6, 1923
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa
Died: October 27, 2007

 50 Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe