From January 1, 1911
SEWING WOMAN, NEARLY BLIND, WINS PRIZE FOR NOVEL: Marguerite Audoux Amazes Paris by Getting the Academy of Women Prize of 5,000 Francs. (PDF)
This woman I’d never heard of has quite a remarkable story. She was born in 1863, but orphaned by age three when her mother died and her father abandoned her. She spent nine years in an orphanage, and then became a farm worker. She met a boy and fell in love, but his parents wouldn’t allow them to marry. In 1881 she moved to Paris and found work as a seamstress. In 1883, she had a difficult pregnancy that resulted in a stillbirth and left her sterile.
During her time as a seamstress, she found an interest in literature. She turned her own life story into the basis of a novel called Marie Claire, and it became a huge hit.
Her subsequent novels never reached the acclaim of her debut effort. You can read Marie Claire for free at Project Gutenberg.
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