Marguerite Duras: Biography

Marguerite Duras

04 apr 1914

Marguerite Duras was born in French Indochina (now Vietnam) in 1914. She was a French playwright, scriptwriter, essayist, novelist and filmmaker. She was an incredibly brave woman, and she and her first husband, Robert Antelme, both worked and fought for the French Resistance during the Second World War.

Marguerite moved back to France at the age of 17 where she started to study towards a degree in Mathematics. She soon decided that mathematics was not her passion and instead switched to study political science and then switched again to study law. She enrolled in the French Communist Party and got a job representing her native colony of Indochina to the French Government.

She is most well-known for the 1959 film, Hiroshima mon amour, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Marguerite Duras was born with the surname Donnadieu, but chose the penname Duras when she published her first novel in 1943. Duras was the name of the village in the Lot-et-Garonne department of France where her father’s house was situated. Her most well-known novel was the fictionalised semi-autobiographical account of her affair with a Chinese man: L’Amant (The Lover, in its English translation). This book, first published in 1984, won the Goncourt Prize and went on to become a bestseller, and paved the way for three more instalments of the story of her early life: The Sea Wall, Eden Cinema and The North China Lover.

Marguerite Duras died in March 1996 in Paris, France aged 81.