Paulo Coelho de Souza (/ˈkwɛl.juː, kuˈɛl-, -joʊ/; Portuguese: [ˈpaw.lu kuˈeʎu]; born 24 August 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel The Alchemist. In 2014, he uploaded his personal papers online to create a virtual Paulo Coelho Foundation.
In 1982, Coelho published his first book, Hell Archives, which failed to make a substantial 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, Coelho wrote The Pilgrimage, published in 1987.
While trying to overcome his procrastination about launching his writing career, Coelho decided, "If I see a white feather today, that is a sign that God is giving me that I have to write a new book." Seeing one in the window of a shop, he began writing that day. The following year, Coelho wrote The Alchemist and published it through a small Brazilian publishing house that made an initial print run of 900 copies and decided not to reprint it. He subsequently found a bigger publishing house, and with the publication of his next book Brida, The Alchemist took off. HarperCollins decided to publish the book in 1994. Later it became an international bestseller. In a 2009 interview with the Syrian Forward Magazine, Coelho stated that the Sufi tradition had been an influence on him, particularly when writing The Alchemist and later The Zahir.
Since the publication of The Alchemist, Coelho has generally written at least one novel every two years. Four of them – The Pilgrimage, Hippie, The Valkyries and Aleph – are autobiographical, while the majority of the rest are broadly fictional. Other books, like Maktub, The Manual of the Warrior of Light and Like the Flowing River, are collections of essays, newspaper columns, or selected teachings. His work has been published in more than 170 countries and translated into eighty languages. Together, his books have sold in the hundreds of millions. On 22 December 2016, Coelho was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 2 in the list of 200 most influential contemporary authors.
However, reactions to his writing have not been without controversy. Though he was raised in a Catholic family, and describes himself as of that faith even now, his stance has been described as incompatible with the Catholic faith, because of its New Age, pantheist and relativist contents. And whatever his sales, reviews of Coelho's later work consistently note its superficiality.
In 2016, he was contacted by basketball player Kobe Bryant, who wanted to discuss a children's book project with him. Some months before Bryant's death in a helicopter crash in January 2020, they started to write the book together, but upon hearing about his passing, Coelho decided to delete the whole draft. And in 2018, it was announced that Coelho had signed for a TV series based on the characters of his novels The Devil and Miss Prym, Brida and The Witch of Portobello.
Year Portuguese title English title
1974 Teatro da Educação Theater For Education
1982 Arquivos do Inferno Hell Archives
1987 O Diário de um Mago The Pilgrimage
1988 O Alquimista The Alchemist
1990 Brida Brida
1991 O Dom Supremo The Supreme Gift
1992 As Valkírias The Valkyries
1994 Maktub Maktub
Na margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
1996 O Monte Cinco