Viviane Forrester, née Dreyfus, was born to a wealthy French Jewish family in Paris. She came of age at a time when the world she knew was collapsing: France was defeated and occupied by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II. In 1942, after the round-ups of French Jews began, she and her parents fled the city and escaped to Spain. Viviane felt she always carried the burden of her experiences during this period -- memories that found their way into her fiction and her moral outlook. She made her debut as a novelist in 1970 with Ainsi des exilés. Until the publication of her internationally popular, bestselling economics book, L'horreur économique (1996), which won the Prix Medicis, she was known mainly for her novels and as an essayist and literary critic for Le Monde, Le Nouvel Observateur, and Quinzaine littéraire. She also was an acclaimed biographer, and won the Prix Goncourt in 2009 for her biography of Virginia Woolf. She served as a member of the jury for the Prix Femina.