Catherine Clément was born into a mixed Catholic-Jewish family. She received a degree in philosophy from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris; her professors included Claude Lévi-Strauss and Jacques Lacan. After teaching for 12 years, she retired from academia to write full-time. She produced feature articles for Matin de Paris on cultural life. In 1969, she was named head of the Ministry of Culture’s arts board, which took her to India for four years. Her affection for the country is evident in the nearly 30 fiction and nonfiction books she has written about it, including The Last Days of the Goddess (2006), For the Love of India (1993), and The Sultan (1981). Catherine Clément also has lived for extended periods of time in Austria and Senegal. In 2001, she entered politics with the presidential campaign of Jean-Pierre Chevènement. She was asked to write a report on culture on French television. She has also published books with Hélène Cixous and Julia Kristeva.