Émile François Zola (French pronunciation: [e.mil zɔ.la]; 2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. Zola was born in Paris in 1840. Him and his family moved to southeast France when Emile was only 3 years old. Four years later in 1847, his father died leaving his mother on a meager pension. In 1858 the Zolas moved to Paris, where Émile's childhood friend Paul Cézanne soon joined him. Zola started to write in the romantic style. His widowed mother had planned a law career for Émile but he failed his Baccalauréat examination. During his early years, Émile Zola wrote several short stories and essays, four plays and three novels. Among his early books was Contes à Ninon, published in 1864. With the publication of his sordid autobiographical novel La Confession de Claude (1865) attracting police attention, Hachette fired him. His novel Les Mystères de Marseille appeared as a serial in 1867. After his first major novel, Thérèse Raquin (1867), Zola started the series called Les Rougon Macquart, about a family under the Second Empire. In Paris Zola maintained his friendship with Cézanne who painted a portrait of him with another friend from Aix-en-Provence, writer Paul Alexis, entitled Paul Alexis reading to Zola. When Zola was 28, he started writing about the "environmental" influences of violence, alcohol and prostitution which became more prevalent during the second wave of the Industrial Revolution.
Zola died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a stopped chimney on the 29th of September 1902. He was 62 years old.