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Etel Adnan Edit Profile

artist , essayist , writer , poet

Etel Adnan is a Lebanese poet, writer and visual artist. Besides her literary output, Adnan continues to produce visual works, which have been exhibited at galleries all over the world. She lives in Paris, France and Sausalito, California, United States.


Adnan, Etel was born on February 24, 1925 in Beirut, Lebanon. Daughter of Assaf Kadri (a military commander of the Ottoman Empire) and Rose Lily (Lacorté) Adnan.


She attended French convent schools in Beirut. She attended attended L’Ecole Superieure des Lettres in Beirut. She received a B.A. degree in 1950 and a degree in philosophy from University of Paris (also known as Sorbonne) in 1952. She also completed postgraduate studies in philosophy at University of California, Berkeley in 1955-1957 and Harvard University in 1957-1958.


She worked for the Bureau de la Presse in Beirut, Lebanon in 1941-1945. She served as a teacher of French literature for Al-Ahliya School for Girls in Beirut in 1947-1949. From 1958 till 1972 she was professor philosophy at Dominican College, San Rafael, California, Unite States. Then she worked as literary and culture editor at al-SAFA and L'Orient-Le Jour (French-language news-papers) in Beirut from 1972 till 1975. Since 1976 she worked as writer, painter in Sausalito, California.


  • In 1977, Adnan was awarded the France-Pays Arabes award for her novel "Sitt Marie Rose". In 2003, Adnan was named "arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today" by the academic journal "MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States". In 2010, she was awarded the Arab American Book Awards for "Master of the Eclipse". In 2013, her poetry collection "Sea and Fog" won the California Book Award for Poetry. That same year Adnan was awarded the Lambda Literary Award. In 2014, Adnan was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.


  • painting

    • Oil Fields

    • Untitled

    • Untitled

    • Mount Tamalpais

    • Untitled

    • Five Senses for One Death

    • Untitled #17

    • Untitled

    • Untitled

    • Untitled


Quotations: "There's always a conductive thread through space for untenable positions".


In her later years, Adnan began to openly identify as lesbian.


Assaf Kadri Adnan - military commander

He was Muslim Syrian and a military commander of the Ottoman Empire.

Rose Lily (Lacorté) Adnan

She was was a Christian Greek from Smyrna.