Over the years, France has had quite a number of literary superstars who have gone on to win very prestigious awards and make many achievements. Their literary work is iconic and read in many parts of the world. Below is a list of some of the iconic French literary superstars and their achievements.

Philip Roth

Philip Roth image

Starting from the most current literary achievement, Philip Roth, a Frenchman who however has never lived in France first received the insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honor in the year 2013. They ceremony held at the French embassy in New York saw Roth walk away with a prestigious award for his great literary work.

In the month of October 2017, Philip Roth, the author of American letters again received one of the most prestigious and coveted awards in the literary world. This award, rarely awarded is an accolade that recognizes Roth as one of the best living French authors today. The privilege rarely extended to living authors, is a great honor to Roth.  Now Roth will have all his literary work displayed in the “Pleiade”. Pleiade, published by Editions Gallimard, aims at displaying the beauty of both the world and French literature. This move makes Philip Roth a member of the pantheon, a place only reserved for greatest writers.

Other revered authors in the Pleiade are Vielle Charite, Jules Verne, and Honore de Balzac among many others.

Marcel Proust

Proust, Marcel

Arguably, Marcel is one of the most celebrated French literary superstars. His 3200 page novel “In Search Of Lost Time” was a masterpiece and it still is. Graham Greene said this about Marcel’s novel “it is the greatest novel of the 20th – century” and Somerset added by saying “it is the greatest fiction to date”

 Honore de Balzac

Photo of Honore de Balzac

With his literary work at the Pleiade, Honore de Balzac is one of the most celebrated French authors. Born in 1799, Balzac published his first novel Le Pere Goriot in 1835. He wrote a record 91 novels in the course of his career and many short stories. La ComedieHumaine, his serial novel did very well and it still does. He was the first French author to use fiction to define the prevailing situation at a particular time in the history of his country.

Emile Zola

Emile Zola

Another literary superstar was Emile Zola, a playwright, a journalist, and a novelist. In the 19th – century, he was arguably the most prominent French novelist. Besides being a great writer, he was also a political activist and a critic. He has a huge collection of book titles to his name.


The above superstars are some of the many literary superstars that have many accolades to their great literary work. Even though they are long gone, their work continues to shine making their names live forever.