Etel Adnan Named ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’

Lebanese writer and painter Etel Adnan has been named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, a distinction she shares with artists as varied as Terry Gilliam, Shakira, Tim Burton, Elif Shafak, Jude Law, and Philip Glass:


Photo by Simone Fattal
Photo by Simone Fattal

Adnan, born in 1925, received the award at a ceremony at the Arab World Institute in Paris at the end of January, where the poet, novelist, essayist, and visual artist was given the insignia of Chevalier of Arts and Letters by former French Minister of Culture Jack Lang.

Adnan is perhaps best known for her classic war novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won the “France-Pays Arabes” award and has been translated into more than ten languages, and her In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country, but she has numerous other collections of poetry, as well as theatrical and other writings.

Meanwhile, Adnan’s Premonition, her most recent book, is due out in March 2014. According to the publisher: “Premonition is a short book that refuses finality in a world of contingencies and human unpredictability. The only sure place to stand, in this late work of Etel Adnan’s, must be created from day to day in life and art.” It’s a cloth-bound, 56-page book available through

From the Poetry Foundation, poems by Adnan: 

From Electronic Poetry Review:



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