Paulo Coelho

Early Life

Paulo Coelho was born on the 25th of August in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a bright child of Pedro Paulo Queima Coelho de Souza, an engineer, while his mother, Lygia Coelho de Souza, was a religious woman. He spent his early years in Brazil and rebelled against his Roman Catholic upbringing. Sensing mental instability, his parents temporarily admitted him to a mental hospital. He was subjected to the brutality of electric shocks to which he tried to escape thrice but it was in vain. Finally, he won his release from that mental torture at the age of twenty after he documented his parent’s stance in his work where he says that his parents did not want to hurt him.


Since Paulo’s family was religious, he got admission to Jesuit College of San Ignacio in Rio de Janeiro when he was eleven. He hated the strict religious practices of his parents because he wanted to make a career in writing. But his parents had some other plans for him. At their desire, he joined law school and gave up the thought of becoming a writer. Unfortunately, he could not develop an interest in the subject. After a year or so, he left that school and spent life as a hippie, traveling through various countries including North America, Mexico, South America, and Europe. He also became a drug addict.


Paulo Coelho, a leading figure of the contemporary era, married Christina Oiticica, an actress in 1880. The couple spent their early years in Brazil and France. Currently, they are living and enjoying life in Geneva, Switzerland.

Some Important Facts of His Life

  1. He sold thirty-five million copies of his novel, The Alchemist. Also, it has been translated into eighty languages and holds the Guinness World Record for the most translated book.
  2. His books have been translated in eighty-one languages and have been published in 170 countries.
  3. His novels, Brida, The Alchemist, and Veronika Decides to Die have been used for various film adaptations.

His Career

Paulo Coelho is unquestionably the most influential authors of recent times, but the path of writing was never easy for him. His desire to become a writer was misinterpreted by his parents during his early years with resultant sufferings. Although he gave up the idea of becoming a writer, yet it kept on burning inside him and gained spiritual awakening in 1986. It was during his walking trip to Santiago de Compostela, he renewed catholic beliefs, which he later documented in his biographical work, The Pilgrimage, published in 1995. Although the book did not win the desired success, yet it introduced him among the literary canons of that time.

Later, in the following year, he came up with a superb literary piece, The Alchemist, which won universal acclaim for the writer. During the next three years, he came up with, Brida, The Supreme Gift, and The Valkyries. His later novels include Veronika Decides to Die, which documents the mental instability of youth, The Devil and Miss Prym, which examines the essential nature of mankind and Eleven Minutes, which reflects the boundaries between love and sex. Other works by this towering figure include Manuscript Found in Accra, Life, Maktub Essential Words, and The Zahir.

His Style

Paulo established his career as a writer. His creative, witty, and philosophical ideas brought variety to the literary world. His early works primarily focused on autobiographical elements and spiritual awakening. However, in his later works, he explored the philosophy of life, implying a haughty and mighty style. Using an ambrosial and wistful writing style in his pieces, he successfully creates certain experiences for his audience. Marked with the blend of expectation and reality, his works an enthusiasm such as Zahir, The Winner Stands Alone, Eleven Minutes, and Brida. They also emphasize ethics, positivity, and love, we, as human beings, need in our lives. In fact, imaginative and humanistic ideas allowed him to document his unique thoughts in his works. The recurring themes in most of his novels are life, courage, and perseverance, challenges, hope, and nature.

Paulo Coelho’s Major Works

  • Best Novels: Some of his major works of Paulo Coelho include The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, Zahir, Brida, and Manuscript Found in Accra, The Winner Stands Alone, Eleven Minutes, The Fifth Mountain and

Paulo Coelho’s Impacts on Future Literature

Paulo Coelho’s opinions about self-fulfillment and personal happiness have won public applause across the globe. His distinctive writing approach and unique way of expression made him stand among the best writers of the world. His thoughtful ideas have influenced many great writers and critics. Idelber Avelar, a literary critic, says that Paulo has successfully added the genre of the parable into modern literature. He has successfully documented his ideas and feelings in his writings that writers try to imitate his unique style, considering him a beacon for writing novels.

Famous Quotes

  1. “If pain must come, may it come quickly? Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now? Then I will either wait for him or forget him.” (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
  2. “Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?” (Eleven Minutes)
  3. “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” (The Alchemist)
  4. “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” (The Alchemist )