Coelho (Rio de Janeiro, 1947) prior to his career as a best-selling
author, was a playwright, theatre director, hippie, and popular
songwriter for some of Brazils most famous pop music stars,
including Elis Regina and Raul Seixas. Shortly after, he worked
as a journalist and as a television playwright.
In 1986 Paulo Coelho walked along the Road of Santiago, an ancient Spanish pilgrimage. He would later describe this experience in The Pilgrimage, published in 1987. The following year, with his second book The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho has become one of the most widely read contemporary authors, an authentic publishing phenomenon number 1 best seller in 29 countries. According to the international magazine "Publishing Trends", The Alchemist has been one of the top ten international bestsellers of 1998.
Other titles include Brida (1990), The Valkyries (1992), Maktub (1994), a compilation of his daily column and By The River Piedra I Sat Down & Wept (1994), The Fifth Mountain (1996), was published worldwide with a great success, and The Manual of the Warrior of Light (1997). His most recent book Veronika decides to die (1998) is a novel about madness, which is making bestseller lists worldwide presently.
His work has been published in more than 150 countries and is translated into 51 languages. He has sold more than thirty-one million books and he is the second bestseller author worldwide in 1998, according to the French magazine "Lire" (March 1999). Winning prestigious awards from a variety of countries. The critics have specially praised his poetic, realistic and philosophical style, and "the symbolic language that does not speak to our brains, but to our hearts". His storytelling has the power to inspire nations.
Paulo Coelho is Special Advisor to the UNESCO programme "Spiritual Convergences and Intercultural Dialogues".
Major prizes and decorations
"Prix Lectrices dElle" (France 95)
"Knight of Arts and Letters" (France 96)
"Flaiano International Award" (Italy 96)
"Super Grinzane Cavour Book Award" (Italy 96)
"Golden Book" (Yugoslavia 95, 96, 97, 98)
Finalist for the "International IMPAC Literary Award" (Ireland, 97)
"Comendador de Ordem do Rio Branco" (Brazil 98)
"Crystal Award" by the World Economic Forum (99)
"Golden Medal of Galicia" (Spain, 99)
"Chevalier de L'Ordre national de la Legion d'honneur" (France 2000)
"Crystal Mirror Award" (Poland 2000)
The movie rights of The Alchemist have been acquired by Warner Brothers.
The Alchemist has been praised by authors such as Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburo Oé and has been named by Madonna as her favourite book.
The Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago has recommended The Alchemist, as it is considered useful in terms of gaining your own personal insights. It has also been adopted as a recommended reading in schools in France, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Taiwan, USA and Spain, among others.
The illustrated edition of The Alchemist by the French cartoonist Moebius was published in several countries, including the US.
BMG Classics releases the CD of "The Alchemists Symphony" by the French composer Walter Taieb, inspired by the novel. Other projects based on the book are a musical performed in Japan, a musical piece composed by the Italian Irlando Danieli that was performed in Italy, as well as the theatre performances in Brazil, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Norway, Poland, Croatia and Slovakia.
Three titles of Paulo Coelho have simultaneously been on the best-seller lists in France, Poland, Switzerland, Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Yugoslavia and Brazil.
His Holiness, Pope John Paul II received Paulo Coelho in The Vatican in 1998.
On the 25th July 1999, the day of Santiago Apostle in the last year of pilgrimage of the Millennium, Paulo Coelho has received the Golden Medal of Galicia.
"World Economic Forum" has distinguish Paulo Coelho with the most prestigious award "Crystal Award 1999". He was invited for a third consecutive year, to give a conference in the "Annual Meeting 2000" in Davos (Switzerland) that was held at the beginning of February.
Paulo Coelho has a Sunday column in "O Globo" one of the newspapers with the largest print run in Brazil. This column compiles Paulo Coelhos philosophy, and is based on stories from all parts and cultures around the world. It is being licensed in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Poland.
In March 2000 The French Government presented Paulo Coelho with one of the most prestigious awards the "Chevalier de L'Ordre national de la Legion d'honneur".