Violette Leduc was a French author.
She was born in Arras, Pas de Calais, France, the illegitimate daughter of a servant girl, Berthe. In Valenciennes, the young Violette spent most of her childhood suffering from poor self-esteem, exacerbated by her mother's hostility and overprotectiveness. She developed tender friendships with her grandmother Fideline and her maternal aunt Laure.
Her formal education, begun in 1913, was interrupted by World War I. After the war, she went to a boarding school, the Collège de Douai, where she experienced lesbian affairs with a classmate and a music instructor who was fired over the incident.
In 1926, Leduc moved to Paris and enrolled in the Lycée Racine. That same year, she failed her baccalaureate exam and began working as a telephone operator and secretary at Plon publishers.
In 1942 she met Maurice Sachs and Simone de Beauvoir, who encouraged her to write. Her first novel L'Asphyxie was published by Albert Camus for Éditions Gallimard and earned her praise from Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet.
In 1955, Leduc was forced to remove part of her novel Ravages because of sexually explicit passages describing lesbianism. The censored part was eventually published as a separate novella, Thérèse and Isabelle in 1966. Another novel, Le Taxi caused controversy because of its depiction of incest between a brother and sister. Critic Edith J. Benkov compares this novel with the work of Marguerite Duras and Nathalie Sarraute.