Who is Paulo Coelho – The Biography of Paulo Coehlo

Paulo Coelho 

Paulo Coelho is a well-known Brazilian author and lyricist. He was born on 24 August 1947 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had always loved writing and dreamed of being a writer from an early age. He was, however, discouraged by his parents who wanted him to become a lawyer. During adolescence, Coelho was sent three times to a mental hospital by his parents because of his dream to become a writer. English 9 141 In his twenties, he was arrested and tortured in Brazil, but always kept dreaming his dream of becoming a writer, at his parents’ wishes. After his release from prison, 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. He changed his life radically at the age of 36 years, after a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where he experienced a spiritual awakening and felt inspired to write the book, The pilgrimage(1987). Only one year later, he wrote The Alchemist in the course of a two-week spurt of creativity. The Alchemist was Paolo Coelho’s breakthrough as an international author. The allegorical novel is about a shepherd boy who follows a mystical trek in which he learns to speak the “Language of the World” and thus receives his heart’s desire. 

The book attracted little attention at first until a French-language translation suddenly leapt onto bestseller lists in France in the early 1990s. New translations followed, and soon The Alchemist became a worldwide phenomenon. The book has sold, by Coelho’s count, roughly 35 million copies, and is now the most translated book in the world by any living author. Since then he has published books at a rate of about one every two years. In 2013, approximately 150 million copies of his books were published in at least 71 languages. Several of his books are autobiographic in nature and deal with spirituality and faith, societal impacts on individuals, and love.

 His 26 books have sold more than 65 million copies in at least 59 languages. Besides The Alchemist, his other notable works include Veronika Decides to Die(1998), which mines the perceived mental instability of his youth; The Devil and Miss Prym (2000), an investigation of the essential nature of humankind; and Eleven Minutes(2003), which explores the boundaries between love and sex through the story of a prostitute. The Witch of Portobello (2006) tells the story of a female religious leader in the form of interviews with those who knew her. The Winner Stands Alone (2008) is a thriller set against the Cannes Film Festival. 

Similarly, Aleph (2010) was ostensibly the true tale of Coelho’s 2006 journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, but he embroidered the experience with a supposed encounter with a reincarnated lover from another lifetime. Manuscript Found in Accra (2012) concerns the experiences of a Greek wise man in Jerusalem prior to its invasion by Crusaders. 

Adultery (2014) chronicles a successful journalist’s extramarital affair, and Hippie (2018) was inspired by Coehlo’s travels in the 1970s. His Other works include Frases (1996), a collection of short excerpts from his oeuvre, and Life: Selected Quotations (2007), a similar collection of excerpts translated into English. Coelho also compiled selections from his weekly column in the newspapers 

Globo into a volume titledMaktub which means “It Is Written”. Coelho is now the world’s widely read author with several international awards under his belt. He has received several prestigious awards including Crystal Award given by World Economic Forum, France’s Legion d’ honneur, and many more. His fans call his books inspiring and life-changing. His critics blame that his books merely promote vague spirituality devoid of rigor. A confident writer who rejects the self-help label—”I am not a self-help writer; I am a self-problem writer”—Coelho dismisses his naysayers’ critiques. “When I write a book I write a book for myself; the reaction is up to the reader,” he says. “It’s not my business whether people like or dislike it.” 

Coelho has been married to his wife, the artist Christina Oiticica, since 1980. Together the couple spends half the year in Rio de Janeiro and the other half in a country house in the Pyrenees Mountains of France. In 1996, Coelho founded the Paulo Coelho Institute, which provides support to children and the elderly.

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