VIOLETTE LEDUC, French author, born (d: 1972); Leduc 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 over-protectiveness. 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 Racine. That same year, she failed her baccalaureate exam and began working as a telephone operator and secretary at Plon publishers. In 1932 she met Maurice Sachs and Simone de Beauvoir, who encouraged her to write. Her first novel L’Asphyxie (In the Prison of Her Skin) was published by Albert Camus for Éditions Gallimard and earned her praise from Sartre, Cocteau and Genet.