Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette: Biography

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

28 jan 1873

Colette was a French actress, a journalist and a novelist who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Colette received huge recognition for her novel, ‘Gigi’ which was later made a French film.

Born on Jan 28, 1873 in the village of Saint-sauveur-en-puisaye, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette’s family was initially well-off but when Colette had to join school, the income of the family started reducing and so Colette had to study in a public school.

In 1893, Colette married Willy, a famous author and publisher. It was because of Willy that Colette started a career in writing. She wrote four novels translated in English as ‘Claudine at School’, ’Claudine in Paris’ ‘Claudine Married’ and ‘Claudine and Anne’. These four novels copyrights were owned by Willy and it was published under his name.

Colette and Willy’s marriage did not work through and so they got separated in 1906. Willy married and lived with another partner later. Colette dedicated her time to journalism as well as writing.

Although Colette’s talent was not recognised initially, later she emerged as an iconic writer dealing with women. She was elected to the Belgian Royal Academy, the Academic Goncourt, a chevalier and a Grand officer of the Legion d’honneur. Colette also worked as the literary correspondent for the newspaper Le Matin between 1910 and 1923.

Famous writer Colette passed away on Aug 3, 1954. Though the Catholic church refused to do a religious funeral considering her many divorces, the state honoured her with the last rights making Colette the first French woman of letters to be granted this honour.