Born in a village in Lebanon in 1883, Kahlil Gibran and his family immigrated to Boston when Gibran was 12 years old in 1895. He would return to Lebanon three years later to receive a religious education but was forced to return to America after the death of his sister. The deaths of his mother and brother followed, and a devastated Gibran lost himself in artistic pursuits, particularly his paintings and drawings.
Gibran quickly found success as an artist. In 1904, he held an exhibit in Boston of his charcoal drawings. It was a huge success and resulted in him securing financial support through a school mistress called Mary Haskell. Mary and Gibran became lifelong friends (though Gibran wanted to marry her), and it was Mary who first encouraged Gibran to write in English.
After his father's death in 1909, Gibran moved to New York where he would write some of his most renowned works, including Broken Wings, The Temple Series, The Madman, and The Prophet. By 1926, Gibran was internationally reknowned, contributing articles to the New Orient and beginning work on his lifetime ambition The Son of Jesus.
Excessive drinking during the prohibition years brought on liver disease and his eventual death on April 10, 1931.
Throughout his life, Gibran never forgot his Arabic roots. As well as writing about Arabic culture, and at times in Arabic, he was an instigator of Arabic military action against the Ottoman Empire. Upon his death, he left a large sum of money to his country. In July 1931, Mary Haskell moved his body to a grave in Lebanon.