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Famous Novelists from France

Updated June 14, 2019 13.7k views452 items

List of notable or famous novelists from France, with bios and photos, including the top novelists born in France and even some popular novelists who immigrated to France. If you're trying to find out the names of famous French novelists then this list is the perfect resource for you. These novelists are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known novelist from France is included when available.

The list of famous French novelists, authors, and writers include everyone from Simone de Beauvoir to Jean Genet.

This historic novelists from France list can help answer the questions "Who are some French novelists of note?" and "Who are the most famous novelists from France?" These prominent novelists of France may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected French novelists.

Use this list of renowned French novelists to discover some new novelists that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. 
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  • 1

    Jean-Paul Sartre

    Dec. at 75 (1905-1980)

    BirthplaceParis, France

    BirthplaceParis, France

    Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (, US also ; French: [saʁtʁ]; 21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary...  more

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  • 2

    Marcel Proust

    Dec. at 51 (1871-1922)

    BirthplaceAuteuil-Neuilly-Passy

    BirthplaceAuteuil-Neuilly-Passy

    Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (; French: [maʁsɛl pʁust]; 10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922), known as Marcel Proust, was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his...  more

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  • 3

    Simone de Beauvoir

    Dec. at 78 (1908-1986)

    BirthplaceParis, France

    BirthplaceParis, France

    Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir (UK: , US: , French: [simɔn də bovwaʁ] (listen); 9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986) was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher,...  more

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  • 4

    Albert Camus

    Dec. at 47 (1913-1960)

    BirthplaceDréan, Algeria

    BirthplaceDréan, Algeria

    Albert Camus (; French: [albɛʁ kamy] (listen); 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, the...  more

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  • 5

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    Dec. at 66 (1712-1778)

    BirthplaceGeneva, Switzerland

    BirthplaceGeneva, Switzerland

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau (UK: , US: ; French: [ʒɑ̃ˈʒak ʁuˈso]; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the...  more
  • 6

    Jules Verne

    Dec. at 77 (1828-1905)

    BirthplaceNantes, France

    BirthplaceNantes, France

    Jules Gabriel Verne (; French: [ʒyl vɛʁn]; 8 February 1828 – 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. Verne's collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the...  more

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  • 7

    Victor Hugo

    Dec. at 83 (1802-1885)

    BirthplaceBesançon, France

    BirthplaceBesançon, France

    Victor Marie Hugo (French: [viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo] (listen); 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the...  more
  • 8

    Roger Peyrefitte

    Dec. at 93 (1907-2000)

    BirthplaceCastres, France

    BirthplaceCastres, France

    Roger Peyrefitte was a French diplomat, writer of bestseller novels and gossipy non-fiction, and a defender of gay rights....  more
  • 9

    Jean Genet

    Dec. at 76 (1910-1986)

    BirthplaceFrance, Paris

    BirthplaceFrance, Paris

    Jean Genet (French: [ʒɑ̃ ʒənɛ]; (1910-12-19)19 December 1910 – (1986-04-15)15 April 1986) was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Early in his life he was a...  more

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  • 10

    Marguerite Duras

    Dec. at 82 (1914-1996)

    BirthplaceHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    BirthplaceHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Marguerite Donnadieu, known as Marguerite Duras (French: [maʁ.ɡə.ʁit dy.ʁas]; 4 April 1914 – 3 March 1996), was a French novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and experimental filmmaker. Her...  more
  • 11

    Jean Cocteau

    Age: Died at 74 (1889-1963)

    BirthplaceMaisons-Laffitte, France

    BirthplaceMaisons-Laffitte, France

    Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (French: [ʒɑ̃ kɔkto]; 5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, designer, filmmaker, visual artist and critic. Cocteau is best known...  more

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  • 12

    Honoré de Balzac

    Dec. at 51 (1799-1850)

    BirthplaceIndre-et-Loire, Europe, Metropolitan France, France, Centre region

    BirthplaceIndre-et-Loire, Europe, Metropolitan France, France, Centre region

    Honoré de Balzac ( BAL-zak, more commonly US: BAWL-, French: [ɔnɔʁe d(ə) balzak]; born Honoré Balzac; 20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. The novel sequence La...  more

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  • 13

    Samuel Beckett

    Dec. at 83 (1906-1989)

    BirthplaceFoxrock, Republic of Ireland

    BirthplaceFoxrock, Republic of Ireland

    Samuel Barclay Beckett (; 13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, theatre director, poet, and literary translator. A resident of Paris for most of his...  more

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  • 14

    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Dec. at 44 (1900-1944)

    BirthplaceLyon, France

    BirthplaceLyon, France

    Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry, simply known as Saint-Exupéry (French: [ɑ̃twan də sɛ̃tɛɡzypeʁi]; 29 June 1900 – 31 July 1944), was a French writer, poet, aristocrat,...  more

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  • 15

    Gustave Flaubert

    Dec. at 59 (1821-1880)

    BirthplaceRouen, France

    BirthplaceRouen, France

    Gustave Flaubert (UK: FLOH-bair, US: floh-BAIR, French: [ɡystav flobɛʁ]; 12 December 1821 – 8 May 1880) was a French novelist. Highly influential, he has been considered the leading exponent of...  more
  • 16

    Alfred de Musset

    Dec. at 47 (1810-1857)

    BirthplaceParis, France

    BirthplaceParis, France

    Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay (French: [al.fʁɛd də my.sɛ]; 11 December 1810 – 2 May 1857) was a French dramatist, poet, and novelist. Along with his poetry, he is known for writing the...  more
  • 17

    Louis Aragon

    Dec. at 85 (1897-1982)

    BirthplaceParis, France

    BirthplaceParis, France

    Louis Aragon (French: [lwi aʁaɡɔ̃], pronunciation , 3 October 1897 – 24 December 1982) was a French poet who was one of the leading voices of the surrealist movement in France. He co-founded with...  more
  • 18

    André Gide

    Dec. at 82 (1869-1951)

    BirthplaceParis, France

    BirthplaceParis, France

    André Paul Guillaume Gide (French: [ɑ̃dʁe pɔl ɡijom ʒid]; 22 November 1869 – 19 February 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (in 1947). Gide's career ranged from its...  more

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  • 19

    Guy de Maupassant

    Dec. at 43 (1850-1893)

    BirthplaceTourville-sur-Arques, France

    BirthplaceTourville-sur-Arques, France

    Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (UK: , US: ; French: [ɡi d(ə) mopasɑ̃]; 5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893) was a 19th century French author, remembered as a master of the short story form, and as a...  more
  • 20

    Marquis de Sade

    Dec. at 74 (1740-1814)

    BirthplaceParis, France

    BirthplaceParis, France

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  • 21

    BirthplaceNeuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France

    BirthplaceNeuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France

    Frédéric Beigbeder is a French writer, literary critic and a TV presenter. He won the Prix Interallié in 2003 for his novel Windows on the World and the Prix Renaudot in 2009 for his book Un roman...  more
  • 22

    BirthplaceGanzhou, China

    BirthplaceGanzhou, China

    Gao Xingjian (born January 4, 1940) is a Chinese émigré novelist, playwright, and critic who in 2000 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights...  more
  • 23

    Anatole France

    Dec. at 80 (1844-1924)

    BirthplaceParis, France

    BirthplaceParis, France

    Anatole France (French: [anatɔl fʁɑ̃s]; born François-Anatole Thibault, [frɑ̃swa anatɔl tibo]; 16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist with several best-sellers....  more
  • 24

    Colette

    Dec. at 81 (1873-1954)

    BirthplaceEurope, Metropolitan France, Burgundy, Yonne, Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye

    BirthplaceEurope, Metropolitan France, Burgundy, Yonne, Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye

    Colette (French: [kɔ.lɛt]; Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, 28 January 1873 – 3 August 1954) was a French author and woman of letters nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948; also known as a...  more

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  • 25

    Cyril Collard

    Dec. at 36 (1957-1993)

    BirthplaceÎle-de-France, Europe, Metropolitan France, France, Paris

    BirthplaceÎle-de-France, Europe, Metropolitan France, France, Paris

    Cyril Collard (French: [kɔlaʁ]; 19 December 1957, Paris − 5 March 1993, Paris) was a French author, filmmaker, composer, musician and actor. He is known for his unapologetic portrayals of bisexuality...  more