COELHO Paulo — English

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Novelist, interpreter and lyricist.

1947 - 


Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, 1947. His early aspirations to become a writer were discouraged, and his unwillingness to comply with his parents’ expectations led to him being institutionalised for three years from 1964 to 1967 (17 to 20 years of age).

Upon being discharged from the mental institution, he became a law school student and, subsequently, a law school drop-out, an actor, a journalist, and a stage director, and finally a song-writer for various Brazilian artists. His lyrical work led to his arrest and torture by the military government in 1974, on the grounds that he engaged in ‘subversive activities’.

He later abandoned song-writing to pursue a literary career, beginning, without great success, in the early 1980’s. In 1987, he published The Pilgrimage, a book based on his experiences of walking the 500-mile road to Santiago de Compostela, northern Spain. A year later, Coelho published the book for which he is most widely known, and which typifies the author’s work. The Alchemist is a symbolic tale reflecting Coelho’s own path to fulfilment, and can be read as a parable encouraging readers to live fully by following their dreams. Since the success of this novel, he has published a further 23 books.

In addition to his career as a novelist, Coelho expresses great interest in cross-cultural relations and peace-building. He is a Special Advisor to the UNESCO programme ‘’Spiritual Convergences and Intercultural Dialogues’’, and was an Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue to the European Union in 2008. He is also a Member of the Board of the Peres Centre for Peace, which is a non-partisan organisation working for ‘’an infrastructure of peace and reconciliation by and for the people of the Middle East’’.

Further, he holds a place on the board of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and on the board of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, an international body providing refuge to journalists threatened with violence. As well as the above, he is a member both of the International Advisory Board to the INP (The Harvard International Negotiation Program), and of the Advisory Board to the Maybach Foundation.

In 2007 he was named a Messenger of Peace to the United Nations, and he continues to provide the main body of funding to the Paulo Coelho Institute, which he founded in 1996. The institute is not intended to be a simple charity, but rather to offer opportunities to the disadvantaged poor of Brazil, primarily children and the elderly. The institute currently cares for over 400 children in Rio de Janeiro.


Aleph (2010)

The Winner Stands Alone (2008)

Life: Selected Quotations (2007)

The Witch of Portobello (2006)

Like the Flowing River (2006)

Revived Paths (2005)

The Zahir (2005)

Journeys (2004)

The Genie and the Roses (2004)

And on the Seventh Day (2004)

Eleven Minutes (2003)

Fathers, Sons and Grandsons (2001)

The Devil and Miss Prym (2000)

Essential Words (1998)

Veronika Decides to Die (1998)

The Manual of the Warrior of Light (1997)

Love Letters from a Prophet (1997)

The Fifth Mountain (1996)

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept (1994)

Maktub (1994)

The Valkyries (1992)

The Greatest Gift (1991)

Brida (1990)

The Alchemist (1988)

The Pilgrimage (1987)

Practical Manual of Vampirism (1986)

Hell Archives (1982)

Theatre for Education (1974)

The Manifest of Krig-ha (1974)