Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, 1873 - 1954

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Born: 28 January 1873, Saint-Sauveur-en Puisaye, Yonne, France
Died: 3 August 1954, Paris, France

At twenty Colette married a man fifteen years her senior who cheated on her and locked her in a room every day until she had written her required pages. He then published her books under his name and kept the money. She left him in 1906 and took to the music halls of Paris, the next year she was performing at the Moulin Rouge with one of her female lovers when an on-stage kiss caused a riot and their show was banned. She married a newspaper editor, during the World War I she wrote an opera with Maurice Ravel and turned her husband's estate into a hospital, entering the Legion of Honour as a Chevalier in 1920. (She would be elevated to the rank of Grand Officer in 1953.) After having an affair with her step-son she divorced in 1924, marrying again in 1935. During the second war she hid her Jewish husband in an attic and managed to assist a number of other Jews. She continued to write, publishing over fifty novels, including Gigi in 1945. In her last years she was homebound due to arthritis but continued write. She was the first woman ever to receive a state funeral in France, but the Roman Catholic church refused a funeral mass because of her divorces.

Biography from Wikipedia and Authors' Calendar

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