Françoise Sagan (21 June 1935 – 24 September 2004) – real name Françoise Quoirez – was a French playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. Hailed as "a charming little monster" by François Mauriac on the front page of Le Figaro, Sagan was known for works with strong romantic themes involving wealthy and disillusioned bourgeois characters. Her best-known novel was her first – Bonjour Tristesse (1954) – which was written when she was a teenager.
Sagan was born in Cajarc (Lot) and spent her early childhood in Lot, surrounded by animals, a passion that stayed with her throughout her life. Nicknamed 'Kiki', she was the youngest child of bourgeois parents – her father a company director, and her mother the daughter of landowners. Her family spent World War II (1939–45) in the Dauphiné, then in the Vercors. Her paternal great-grandmother was Russian from Saint Petersburg. The family had a home in the prosperous 17th arrondissement of Paris, to which they returned after the war. Sagan was expelled from her first school, a convent, for "lack of deep spirituality." She was expelled from the Louise-de-Bettignies School because she had "hanged a bust of Molière with a piece of string." She obtained her baccalauréat on the second attempt, at the cours Hattemer, and was admitted to the Sorbonne in the fall of 1952. She was an indifferent student, and did not graduate.
The pseudonym "Sagan" was taken from a character ("Princesse de Sagan") in Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time). Sagan's first novel, Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness), was published in 1954, when she was 18 years old. It was an immediate international success. The novel concerns the life of a pleasure-driven 17-year-old named Cécile and her relationship with her boyfriend and her adulterous, playboy father...
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