Etel Adnan was born in Beirut in 1925 to a Greek Christian mother and a Muslim Syrian father. In 1949 she left Lebanon and was educated in Paris, New York, and California. She taught in California from 1958 until 1972, when she returned to Lebanon to work as the cultural editor of a French-language newspaper. In 1977 she left Beirut for Paris, where she wrote Sitt Marie Rose, which is based on the life of her acquaintance Marie Rose Boulos. Since 1979, Adnan has divided her time between California and Paris. She has authored numerous works of fiction and poetry in both French and English. She is also a painter and sculptor.