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Marī Yannī Biography


Marī Yannī

ماري يني

Writer, researcher and journalist, Marī Yannī ‘Atallah (Arabic:  ماري ينّي – 1895-1967), a Lebanese-Syrian of Greek origin, was born in Beirut. She was educated at the British Mission School in Rmayla, then at Zahrat el-Ihsan school, where she learned English, French, and Russian, and was tutored Arabic at home. In her early years, Yanni taught French and Russian in a school in Homs, before becoming the principal of al-Mukhallis School (School of the Holy Savior) in Beirut. She was also a member of the Association of Lebanese Women, which opened doors to her to be introduced to well-known male and female writers of that time. Her house was open for intellectual and literary gatherings. Marī soon started contributing to various newspapers and women’s periodicals such as al-Marʼah al-jadīdah (المرأة الجديدة), owned by Julia Tu’mah Dimishqiyya (جوليا طعمة دمشقية), or al-Fajr (الفجر), launched by Najlā Abī al-lamaʻ Ma’luf (نجلا ابي اللمع معلوف), and Al-Khidr (الخدر), started by ʻAfīfah Fandī Sa’b (عفيفة فندي صعب). In 1916, Marī issued the handwritten literary magazine, Mīnirfā (منيرفا),  with her sister Alexandra. Later in 1923, she reissued the magazine as a scientific and literary women’s journal, in print format, and it lasted until 1932. Marī married Ibrahim ‘Atallah from Homs, and when they decided to go to Chile in 1926, she left the publication in the hands of her brother Constantin Yanni. In Chile, she pursued her career as a journalist, writing for the expatriate Arab press, like al-Watan (الوطن). In July 1975, Marī passed away after suffering from a severe illness that lasted for several months.


- Ashour, Radwa, Ferial J. Ghazoul, & Hasna Reda-Mekdashi (eds.). Arab women writers: a critical reference guide, 1873-1999. Cairo, Egypt: American University in Cairo Press, c2008.

- Khairallah, Shereen. The sisters of men : Lebanese women in history. Beirut : Institute for Women Studies in the Arab World, c1996

- Zerouali, Basma. Le quatuor de Beyrouth. Paris : Geuthner, 2016.

- البعيني، نجيب. صحافيات لبنانيات رائدات وأديبات مبدعات. بيروت : نوفل، 2007.