Etel Adnan, born February 24, 1925 in Beirut, is an American-Lebanese poet, writer and visual artist; polyglot, she writes in French, English and Arabic. She was brought up in the school of a French convent, and French became the language of writing in her early literary works. She studied English as a child and most of her later writings were written mainly in English. Caught between several languages, in her youth Adnan found her primary voice in painting rather than writing. In 1996, she recalls: "Abstract art was the equivalent of poetic expression; I didn't feel the need to use words, but rather colours and lines. I didn't feel the need to belong to a language-oriented culture but rather to an open form of expression. "At the age of twenty-four, Adnan travelled to Paris, where she finished her philosophy studies at the Sorbonne. Some time later, she left for America where she continued her graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard University. She taught philosophy of art at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael for several years, and has lectured at several universities in the United States. Today, she spends her time between California, France and Lebanon.