- Category : Writer
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 6/3 - Role Model / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Industry 2
Paulo Coelho (born August 24, 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He has become one of the most widely read authors in the world today. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, amongst them the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and France's Légion d'honneur.
Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 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?" After researching, 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. At 16, 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. 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." 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 drugs in the 1960s. 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. 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. Coelho also worked as an actor, journalist, and theatre director before pursuing his writing career.
In 1986, Coelho walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a turning point in his life. On the path, Coelho had a spiritual awakening, which he described autobiographically in The Pilgrimage. 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." Coelho would leave his lucrative career as a songwriter and pursue writing full-time.
In 1982 Coelho published his first book, Hell Archives, which failed to make any significant impact. 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." 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. He subsequently found a bigger publishing house, and with the publication of his next book Brida, The Alchemist became a Brazilian bestseller. 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 71 different languages, the 71st being Maltese, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.
"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 and The Witch of Portobello. This dates back to The Pilgrimage: 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.
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. 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, and his works have been translated into 71 languages. He is the all-time bestselling Portuguese language author.
Coelho also writes up to three blog posts a week at his blog.
Several of Coelho's books have been adapted into other media.
1998 TV Manchete made a 52-episode miniseries based on Brida. This adaptation was written by Jayme Camargo, Sônia Mota and Agélica Lopes, and directed by Walter Avancini. The Brazilian actress Carolina Kasting played Brida. It was the last novel filmed by TV Manchete. It was an audience failure and this adaptation was even reproved by Paulo Coelho himself. Due to the lack of sponsors, it had a premature ending: the last scenes were not recorded, being replaced by screenshots with narrations.
2004 Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film adaptation of The Alchemist. The project stalled and never materialized and the film rights were sold to Harvey Weinstein who will serve as the film's producer.
2007 In June Paulo Coelho announced The Experimental Witch Project, a collaborative project based on The Witch of Portobello.
2009 Veronika Decides to Die was made into a film released in 2009.
2011 In July Coelho ran Aleph, The Video Contest to collaborate and increase interaction with his more than 5,000,000 friends on Facebook. The winner was Turkish artist Raif Kurt.
Coelho and his wife Christina Oiticica divide their time between Europe and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1996, Coelho founded the Paulo Coelho Institute, which provides aid to children and elderly people with financial problems. In September 2007, Coelho was named a Messenger of Peace to the UN. He is a practicing Catholic.
Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (France)
UNESCO special counsellor for “Intercultural Dialogues and Spiritual Convergences”
Board Member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
Member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters
Member of INI International Advisory Council – Harvard International Negotiation Program
Member of the Board, Doha Center of Media Freedom
On May 9, 2006, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Paulo Coelho was awarded by the President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov the "The Honorable Award of the President of the Republic