Paulo Coelho Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Childhood And Early Life
Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was born on the 24 August 1947 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Born into a Catholic family, Coelho was sent to a Jesuit school.
Rise To Fame
When Coelho was in his late teens, there was conflict within the family because he wanted to be a writer and his mother was determined that he study to be an engineer. The stress caused Coelho to be committed to a mental institution when he was 17, and he was committed three times before the age of 20. He then enrolled at law school but dropped out to become a hippie. During his hippies days, he travelled widely in South America, Europe, Africa and elsewhere. It was around this time that he began experimenting with the 1960s drug culture.
After his travels, Coelho went back to Brazil and began a career as a songwriter. One of the artists he composed songs with was Raul Seixas, songs which were interpreted by the military government of the day as hinting at occultism. In the mid-1970s, Coelho was arrested on suspicion of subversion and radical activities. He then worked in the theatre as an actor and director and also as a journalist before becoming a full-time writer.
Hell Archives (1982) was his first book but went relatively unnoticed. He then published The Pilgrimage (1987) which was based on a pilgrimage he had taken in Spain, this was followed by The Alchemist (1988) and Brida (1990). Initially, The Alchemist was initially published in Portuguese by a small publishing house and did not attract a lot of attention until translated into French. The book subsequently found a worldwide audience and established Coelho’s reputation as a writer.
He has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the author of the most translated book by any living author for The Alchemist. Other works include: Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Manuscript Found in Accra and Adultery. Collectively his books have sold over 175 million copies. A prolific writer, Coelho has published a book every other year.
Awards And Achievements
The Alchemist has sold over 65 million copies, has been translated into 80 languages and has also appeared on The New York Times best-seller list for over 300 weeks. Richtopia named Coelho number two on their 200 Most Influential Contemporary Authors list (2016). Coelho has won numerous literary awards.
Coehlo’s wife is the Brazilian artist Christina Oiticia whom he married in 1980. A film about his life, The Pilgrim - Story of Paulo Coelho, was released in 2014. He is also an avid social media user and has over 15 million followers on Twitter.
The Paula Coelho Institute was founded by Coelho in 1996 for the purpose of offering opportunities and hope, instead of charity, to people on the fringe of Brazilian society. The institute, which is a non-profit organization, is funded mostly by his book royalties. The chief focus of the work of the institute is the children of Rio de Janeiro and Baependi, the elderly and hospitals.