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Paulo Coelho


Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho in 2008
Born (1947-08-24) August 24, 1947
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Occupation Novelist, lyricist, musician
Language Portuguese
Nationality Brazilian
Genre Drama, Self-improvement, Psychology
Notable works The Alchemist , Brida

Paulo Coelho (Portuguese: ; born August 24, 1947), is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He is the recipient of numerous international awards, amongst them the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. The Alchemist, his most famous novel, has been translated into 80 languages.[1] The author has sold 165 million copies worldwide and is the all-time bestselling Portuguese language author.


  • Biography 1
  • Writing career 2
  • The Alchemist 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • Não Pare na Pista 5
  • Social Media and the Official App 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Paulo Coelho was born in Brazil[2] and attended a Jesuit school. As a teenager, Coelho wanted to become a writer. Upon telling his mother this, she responded with "My dear, your father is an engineer. He's a logical, reasonable man with a very clear vision of the world. Do you actually know what it means to be a writer?"[2] After researching, which was common for him since he was a policy debater when he was in high school, Coelho concluded that a writer "always wears glasses and never combs his hair" and has a "duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation," amongst other things.[2] At 17, Coelho's introversion and opposition to following a traditional path led to his parents committing him to a mental institution from which he escaped three times before being released at the age of 20.[3][4] Coelho later remarked that "It wasn't that they wanted to hurt me, but they didn't know what to do... They did not do that to destroy me, they did that to save me."[5] At his parents' wishes, Coelho enrolled in law school and abandoned his dream of becoming a writer. One year later, he dropped out and lived life as a hippie, traveling through South America, North Africa, Mexico, and Europe and started using drugs in the 1960s.[6][7] Upon his return to Brazil, Coelho worked as a songwriter, composing lyrics for Elis Regina, Rita Lee, and Brazilian icon Raul Seixas. Composing with Raul led to Paulo being associated with magic and occultism, due to the content of some songs.[8] In 1974, Coelho was arrested for "subversive" activities by the ruling military government, who had taken power ten years earlier and viewed his lyrics as left-wing and dangerous.[5] Coelho also worked as an actor, journalist, and theatre director before pursuing his writing career.[8]

In 1986, Coelho walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a turning point in his life.[6][9] On the path, Coelho had a spiritual awakening, which he described autobiographically in The Pilgrimage.[10] In an interview, Coelho stated "[In 1986], I was very happy in the things I was doing. I was doing something that gave me food and water – to use the metaphor in "The Alchemist", I was working, I had a person whom I loved, I had money, but I was not fulfilling my dream. My dream was, and still is, to be a writer."[11] Coelho would leave his lucrative career as a songwriter and pursue writing full-time.

Writing career

In 1982 Coelho published his first book, Hell Archives, which failed to make a substantial impact.[8] In 1986 he contributed to the Practical Manual of Vampirism, although he later tried to take it off the shelves since he considered it “of bad quality."[8] After making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in 1986, Coelho wrote The Pilgrimage. The following year, Coelho wrote The Alchemist and published it through a small Brazilian publishing house who made an initial print run of 900 copies and decided not to reprint.[12] He subsequently found a bigger publishing house, and with the publication of his next book Brida, The Alchemist took off. Harper Collins, the biggest publishing House in the United States, decided to publish the book in 1994. Then, it became first a Brazilian bestseller, later a world-wide phenomenon.[12] The Alchemist has gone on to sell more than 65 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling books in history, and has been translated into 80 different languages, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.[8][13]

The Alchemist, easily known as his most successful story, is a story about a young shepherd who follows his spiritual journey to the Egyptian pyramids in search of a treasure.

Since the publication of The Alchemist, Coelho has generally written one novel every two years including By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Fifth Mountain, Veronika Decides to Die, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, Like the Flowing River, The Valkyries, The Winner Stands Alone, The Witch of Portobello, Aleph (novel) and Adultery. While trying to overcome his procrastination of launching his writing career, Coelho said, "If I see a white feather today, that is a sign that God is giving me that I have to write a new book." Coelho found a white feather in the window of a shop, and began writing that day.[10]

In total, Coelho has published 30 books. Three of them – The Pilgrimage,The Valkyries and Aleph – are autobiographical, while the majority of the rest are fictional, although rooted in his life experiences.[6] Others, like Maktub and The Manual of the Warrior of Light, are collections of essays, newspaper columns, or selected teachings. In total, Coelho has sold more than 150 million books in over 150 countries worldwide (224 territories), and his works have been translated into 80 languages.[7][8] He is the all-time bestselling Portuguese language author.

Coelho also writes up to three blog posts a week at his blog.[14]

The Alchemist

The Alchemist (novel) has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.

Many celebrities have declared The Alchemist is their favorite novel. Bill Clinton was spotted with a copy of the book, and Will Smith, Madonna or Malala, among many others, have declared it is their favorite novel. In 2014, Oprah Winfrey interviewed pop star Pharrell Williams, who explained that The Alchemist changed his life.[12]


Year Portuguese Title English Title
1974 O Manifesto de Krig-há The Manifest of Krig-há
1974 Teatro da Educação Theater For Education
1982 Arquivos do Inferno Hell Archives
1986 O Manual Prático do Vampirismo Practical Manual of Vampirism
1988 O Diário de Um Mago The Pilgrimage
1988 O Alquimista The Alchemist
1990 Brida Brida
1991 O Dom Supremo The Greatest Gift
1992 As Valkírias The Valkyries
1994 Maktub Maktub
Na margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
1996 O Monte Cinco The Fifth Mountain
1997 Letras do amor de um profeta Love Letters from a Prophet
Manual do guerreiro da luz Manual of the Warrior of Light
1998 Veronika decide morrer Veronika Decides to Die
Palavras essenciais Essential Words
2000 O Demônio e a srta Prym The Devil and Miss Prym
2001 Histórias para pais, filhos e netos Fathers, Sons and Grandsons
2003 Onze Minutos Eleven Minutes
2004 E no sétimo dia And on the Seventh Day (collection of the novels By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, Veronika Decides to Die and The Devil and Miss Prym)
O Gênio e as Rosas The Genie and the Roses
Viagens Journeys
2005 O Zahir The Zahir
Caminhos Recolhidos Revived Paths
2006 Ser como um rio que flui Like the Flowing River
A bruxa de Portobello The Witch of Portobello
2007 Vida: Citações selecionadas Life: Selected Quotations
2008 O Vencedor está Só The Winner Stands Alone
2010 O Aleph Aleph
2012 Manuscrito Encontrado em Accra Manuscript Found in Accra
2014 Adultério Adultery

Não Pare na Pista

The Pilgrim — the Best Story of Paulo Coelho is the international title for the film Não Pare na Pista, a movie about Coelho's life Official Trailer. A co-production between Brazil’s Dama Filmes, led by Carolina Kotscho and Iôna de Macedo, and Angélica Huete’s Babel Films in Spain, the movie has been directed by Daniel Augusto. Ravel and Júlio Andrade play the young and old Coelho, and other cast members include international names such as Fabiana Gugli, Nancho Novo and Paz Vega. Those working on the film include Pedro Almodovar’s regular art director Antxón Gómez and Oscar-winning make-up artists Montse Ribé and David Marti.

De Macedo told Screen: “The film tells the story of a man who has a dream. It’s a little like Alice in Wonderland - he’s someone who is too big for his house." The film, shot in Portuguese, had its premiere in Brazilian Theaters on 2014, and will be internationally distributed by Picture Tree on 2015, according to Variety.[15]

Social Media and the Official App

Paulo Coelho is the writer with the largest community online. The author has more than 25 million fans only on his Facebook main page and more than 10 million followers on Twitter. He also has accounts on Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, among others. He manages his own social communities and has a strong interaction with his readers. Paulo Coelho explains to The Wall Street Journal his relationship with readers through social media platforms

This 2014, the author decided to launch a free app, where readers can find his daily quotes and updates. The exclusive Paulo Coelho official app is available in Portuguese, Spanish and English (the languages in which the author express himself online) and is inspired by the beautiful words of wisdom readers share with the author every day through social media. A way to gather all his online content in one app. The app, developed by Notegraphy, includes daily quotes, access to his page on Facebook, Twitter and blog, and also a direct access to Coelho's channel on YouTube.[16]


  1. ^ "The Alchemist (Coelho) Background". Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Thind, Jessi An Interview with Paulo Coelho MSN Arabia
  3. ^ Schaertl, Markia The Boy from Ipanema: Interview with Paulo Coelho reposted on Paulo Coelho's Blog. December 20, 2007.
  4. ^ Doland, Angela Brazilian author Coelho thrives on contradictions and extremes Oakland Tribune republished on BNet. May 20, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Day, Elizabeth A mystery even to himself The Daily Telegraph. June 14, 2005.
  6. ^ a b c An interview with Brazilian writer, Paulo Coelho: Everybody is a Magus Life Positive. July 2000.
  7. ^ a b Life and Letters: The Magus The New Yorker. May 7, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Biography Official Site of Paulo Coelho.
  9. ^ Teacher's Guide to The Alchemist Harper Collins Publisher.
  10. ^ a b Reiss, Valerie Paulo Coelho Dances with Angels Beliefnet.
  11. ^ Interview with Paulo Coelho BBC World Service Book Club. December 2004.
  12. ^ a b c A Brief History of the Book Saint Jordi Asociados
  13. ^ Film to be made of Coelho's 'Alchemist AFP. May 19, 2008.
  14. ^ "Paulo Coelho's Blog". 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  15. ^ "Picture Tree Acquires Paulo Coelho Biopic ‘The Pilgrim’". PMC. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Paulo Coelho, the writer with the largest community online. "Paulo Coelho on Social Platforms". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 

External links

  • Sant Jordi Asociados, the literary agency that represents Paulo Coelho world wide
  • Paulo Coelho -- The Alchemy of Pilgrimage Interview On Being with Krista Tippett August 14, 2014
  • Paulo Coelho and Ruthie DiTucci interview on SyndicatedNews.NET November 10, 2010
  • World Literature TodayGlauco Ortolano Interview,
  • Works by or about Paulo Coelho in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • Paulo Coelho at the Internet Movie Database
  • Paulo Coelho official blog
  • Warrior of the Light Online
  • What's it like to be the alchemist? Interview with Forward Magazine, April 2009
  • , BBC-Radio July 4, 3 2005Desert Island DiscsAppearance on
  • Articles on openDemocracy
  • A 1988 video interview
  • Paulo Coelho's Interview with The Himalayan Times, Nepal
  • Paulo Coelho on Goodreads
  • Stephen Capen Interview on Worldguide, Futurist Radio Hour – October 14, 1995
  • Interview given to the podcast 'Jovem Nerd' – October 15, 2010
  • Books by Paulo Coelho
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