|Intro||Brazilian lyricist and novelist|
|Is||Poet Lawyer Writer Musician Internet personality Novelist Blogger Actor Composer Poet lawyer Lyricist Songwriter|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio Internet Law Literature Music|
|Birth||24 August 1947, Rio de Janeiro|
Paulo Coelho de Souza (/ˈkwɛljuː/, /kuˈɛl-/, /-joʊ/, Portuguese: [ˈpawlu kuˈeʎu]; 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. His novel The Alchemist has been translated into 81 languages. According to The Washington Post, Paulo Coelho has sold an estimated 350 million books and is the all-time bestselling Portuguese-language author.
Paulo Coelho was born in Brazil and attended a Jesuit school. As a teenager, Coelho wanted to become a writer. Upon telling his mother this, she responded, "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?" 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. Born into a Catholic family, his parents were strict about the religion and faith. 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 using 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 Coelho 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 a substantial 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 that was published in the year 1987. 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 took off. HarperCollins, 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. The Alchemist has gone on to sell more than 83 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling books in history, and has been translated into 81 different languages, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.
The Alchemist, easily known as his most successful book, is a story about a young shepherd 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. The book has inspired a devoted following around the world, with Will Smith, Madonna, and others having declared it to be their favorite novel, and Bill Clinton having been seen with a copy of the book. In 2014, Oprah Winfrey interviewed pop star Pharrell Williams, who stated that The Alchemist had changed his life.
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, Brida, The Valkyries, The Winner Stands Alone, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, Aleph, Manuscript Found in Accra, Adultery and The Spy. 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, The Manual of the Warrior of Light and Like the Flowing River, are collections of essays, newspaper columns, or selected teachings. In total, Coelho has sold more than 210 million books in over 170 countries worldwide (June 2015 sales figures), and his works have been translated into 81 languages.
Coelho writes up to three blog posts a week at his blog, and has over 28.5 million fans on Facebook, and more than 11.4 million followers on Twitter, a higher number than authors such as Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. Coelho discussed his relationship with readers through social media platforms with The Wall Street Journal in August 2014.
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. A co-production between Brazil’s Dama Filmes, led by Carolina Kotscho and Iôna de Macedo, Angélica Huete’s Babel Films in Spain and 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, was internationally distributed by Picture Tree on 2015, according to Variety.
Paulo Coelho Foundation
In November 2014, Paulo Coelho finished uploading around 80,000 documents-manuscripts, diaries, photos, reader letters, press clippings-and created a virtual Paulo Coelho Foundation, together with the physical foundation which is based in Geneva.
Coelho has been married to his wife, the artist Christina Oiticica, since 1980. Together they had previously spent half the year in Rio de Janeiro and the other half in a country house in the Pyrenees Mountains of France. Coelho and Oiticica now permanently reside in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1996, Coelho founded the Paulo Coelho Institute, which provides support to children and the elderly. He continues to write, following his own version of The Alchemist's "Language of the World."
Though he was raised in a Catholic family, he left his faith in his 20s. However, he later returned to his faith and is a devout Catholic now. He attends Mass regularly.
A 2016 Indian Malayalam-language film titled Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho references Coelho's The Alchemist and carries his name in the title.