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Paulo de Souza Coelho Edit Profile

lyricist , novelist , writer

Paulo de Souza Coelho 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.


Mr. Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil, on August 24, 1947.


As a teenager, Paulo 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, Mr. 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.

At his parents' wishes, Paulo Coelho enrolled in law school and abandoned his dream of becoming a writer. After his first year in the law school, 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, Mr. 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 1982 Paulo 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, Mr. Coelho wrote The Pilgrimage. The following year, Mr. 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.

In total, Mr. 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.

Paulo Coelho posts up to three times a week at his blog, and has millions of fans on both Facebook and Twitter. He discussed his relationship with readers through social media platforms with The Wall Street Journal in August 2014.

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.


  • Paulo Coelho founded the Paulo Coelho Institute, which provides aid to children and elderly people with financial problems. In September 2007, Mr. Coelho was named a Messenger of Peace to the United Nations.

    In total, Mr. 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. On 22 December 2016, he was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 2 in the list of 200 Most Influential Authors in the World.

    His best known book, 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.



Though he was raised in a Catholic family, he left his faith in his 20s. However, he later returned to it and is a devout Catholic now. He attends Mass regularly. Nevertheless, his writings have been deemed incompatible with the Catholic faith, because of its New Age, pantheist and relativist contents.


  • Brazilian Academy Letters


In 1986, Paulo 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."

Quotes from others about the person

  • “"Despite being a favorite of readers, Coelho often endures criticism from reviewers, who, as the reviewer in the Economist noted, denounce him as a charlatan, a bore, a seller of snake oil."”


  • Writers

    Castaneda, Henry Miller, William Blake, Jorge Amado, Jorge Luis Borges


Paulo Coelho married artist Christina Oiticica in 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.

Pedro Quiema Coelho de Souza - Engineer

Lygia - homemaker

Christina Oiticica - artist