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Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 24, 1947. As a teenager, he wanted to become a writer, but his parents wanted him to pursue a more substantial and secure career. At the age of 17, his introversion and opposition to his parents led them to commit him to a mental institution. He escaped three times before being released at the age of 20. Once released, he abandoned his ideas of becoming a writer and enrolled in law school to please his parents. He stayed in law school for one year. 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, he had a spiritual awakening, which he described in his book The Pilgrimage. Before becoming a full-time author, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist, and journalist. He wrote song lyrics for many famous performers in Brazilian music including Elis Regina, Rita Lee, and Raul Seixas. His first book, Hell Archives, was published in 1982. He has written over 25 books since then including The Alchemist, Brida, The Fifth Mountain, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, Like a Flowing River, and Adultery. He received numerous awards including Las Pergolas Prize, The Budapest Prize, Nielsen Gold Book Award, and the Grand Prix Litteraire Elle. In 1996, he founded the Paulo Coelho Institute, which provides aid to children and elderly people with financial problems. In 2007, Coelho was named a Messenger of Peace to the United Nations. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from The Alchemist
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The Alchemist 34,332 copies, 949 reviews
Veronika Decides to Die 6,598 copies, 150 reviews
Eleven Minutes 4,905 copies, 87 reviews
The Zahir 3,795 copies, 66 reviews
The Devil and Miss Prym 3,448 copies, 73 reviews
The Witch of Portobello 3,400 copies, 73 reviews
The Diary of a Magician 3,143 copies, 48 reviews
Brida 2,315 copies, 58 reviews
The Fifth Mountain 2,266 copies, 36 reviews
Warrior of the Light 2,060 copies, 18 reviews
The Valkyries 1,600 copies, 17 reviews
The Winner Stands Alone 1,266 copies, 40 reviews
Aleph 965 copies, 34 reviews
Adultery 726 copies, 34 reviews
Manuscript Found in Accra 690 copies, 34 reviews
The Spy: A novel 608 copies, 32 reviews
Maktub 358 copies, 4 reviews
Hippie 288 copies, 12 reviews
The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel 266 copies, 9 reviews
Life: Selected Quotations 244 copies, 4 reviews
The Archer 116 copies, 6 reviews
The Way of the Bow 85 copies, 3 reviews
The Supreme Gift 79 copies, 1 review
And on the Seventh Day 40 copies, 2 reviews
Hippie 2 copies
Mãe 2 copies, 1 review
Paulo Coelho 2 copies
Špijunka 1 copy
Preljuba 1 copy
Valkire 1 copy
Szerelem 1 copy
مکتوب 1 copy
Siddhartha (Introduction, some editions) 25,191 copies, 345 reviews
Paulo Coelho: Confessions of a Pilgrim (Narrator) 150 copies, 1 review
Veronika Decides To Die [2009 film] (Original book) 10 copies, 2 reviews
Beyond Our Differences [2008 film] (Interviewee) 5 copies

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Paulo Coelho has 1 media appearance.

Coelho Explores Goddesses in 'Witch of Portobello'
Weekend Edition Saturday, Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 0am

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Short biography
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist.

Coelho wrote song lyrics for many famous performers in Brazilian music, such as Elis Regina and Rita Lee. Yet his most well known work has been done with Raul Seixas. Together they wrote such successes as Eu nasci há dez mil anos atrás (I was born ten thousand years ago), Gita and Al Capone, amongst other 60 songs.

His fascination with the spiritual quest dates back to his hippie days, when he travelled the world learning about secret societies, oriental religions, etc.

In 1982 Coelho published his first book, Hell Archives, which failed to make any kind of impact. In 1985 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”. In 1986, PAULO COELHO did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage.

In the following year, COELHO published The Alchemist. Slow initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time.

Other titles include Brida (1990), The Valkyries (1992), By the river Piedra I sat Down and Wept (1994), the collection of his best columns published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo entitle Maktub (1994), the compilation of texts Phrases (1995), The Fifth Mountain (1996), Manual of a Warrior of Light (1997), Veronika decides to die (1998), The Devil and Miss Prym (2000), the compilation of traditional tales in Stories for parents, children and grandchildren (2001), Eleven Minutes (2003), The Zahir (2005), The Witch of Portobello (2006) and a compilation of texts gathered under the title Like a Flowing River (2006) published in a few countries for the moment.

He also adapted The Gift (Henry Drummond) and Love letters of a prophet (Kalil Gibran).

To date, Coelho has sold a total of 100 million copies and, according to the magazine Publishing Trends; he was the most sold author in the world in 2003 with his book Eleven Minutes – even though at the time it hadn’t been released in the United States, Japan or 10 other countries!

Also according to Publishing Trends, The Alchemist was to be found in the 6th place of world sales in 2003. Eleven Minutes topped all lists in the world, except for England, where it was in second place. The Zahir, published in 2005, was in third place of bestsellers according to Publishing Trends, after Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

The Alchemist was one of the most important literary phenomena of the 20th century. It reaches the first place in bestselling lists in 18 countries, and so far has sold 30 million copies.

The book has been praised by different personalities ranging from the Nobel Prize Kenzaburo Oe to the singer Madonna, who considers it one of her favourite books. It has equally inspired many projects – such as a musical in Japan, theatre plays in France, Belgium, USA, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland. It is also the theme of two symphonies (Italy and USA) and had its text illustrated by the famous French artist Moebius (author of the sceneries for he Fifth Element and Alien).

His work has been translated in 67 languages and edited in more than 150 countries.

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