Adrian V. Cole grew up in Cambridge, England, and Devon. He went to Exeter University in the United Kingdom, where he read Arabic and Islamic Studies before moving to the United States where he earned an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. He spent a year in Alexandria, Egypt, studying Arabic, and has travelled in much of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Asia and the Americas. After college he worked for two think-tanks focussed on the Middle East, in Washington, D.C. and in Cambridge, MA, and then in publishing, for W.W. Norton and Houghton Mifflin Co.
Continuing his interest in the Middle East, Adrian was for a time the Managing Editor of the Middle East Journal, in Washington, D.C., and also wrote high-school curriculum on Islam and the Middle East, through Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, as well as teaching Islam as an adjunct at Brown University.
Adrian’s writing career, however, extended beyond the boundaries of the Middle East. He has written travel essays, in addition to short stories and non-fiction essays. His publications have appeared in the North American Review, 34th Parallel, Travelers’ Tales Best Travel Writing, and the Solas Travel Writing Awards. His world history college textbook The Thinking Past: Questions and Problems in World History to 1750 was published by Oxford University Press in 2014.
A fan of writing in all its forms, some of the most influential writers in his life have been travel writers such as V.S. Naipaul, Norman Lewis, Paul Theroux, or Bruce Chatwin. In the realm of fiction he has been a fan of many, many writers. Everything he has ever read has probably influenced him in one way or another: from the short stories of William Trevor, Dennis Johnson, Tobias Wolff, George Saunders, to contemporary novelists such as Cormac McCarthy, Richard Ford, Rose Tremain, Zadie Smith and Michael Houellebeque. He also enjoys Middle Eastern writers—even though he doesn’t like to think in terms of writers as nationalist entities: among them Egyptians Alifa Rifaat, Naguib Mahfouz, Israelis Amos Oz, and A.B. Yehoshua, or the Turkish Orhan Pamuk.
Adrian’s other interests include food, farming, sailing and hiking. He is at home at the tiller of a sailboat, or at the business end of a rototiller or chainsaw, and although he will always be a writer, he often finds himself saying “I’d rather be sailing.” He lives on an island in Maine with his wife and children.