Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947 on the 24th of August, Paulo Coelho remains one of my favorite authors of all time. He grew up with both parents and attended a Christian school called Jesuit school. His mother was a housewife and his father an engineer yet Coelho’s dream was to be a writer. Growing up as a child, Coelho’s parents disapproved of his dreams and believed that his introvert behavior was a sign of a mental disorder.
As a young man he studied law although didn’t finish, he dropped out to travel the world to places such Latin America, North Africa, and Europe (These places provide a background inspired setting for the novel The Alchemist). Coelho can be said to be a jack of all trades; he worked as an actor, song writer, director and journalist founding his own magazine. Unfortunately in 1974 he was kidnapped by a Brazilian paramilitary group that were unhappy of his advanced actions.
One major Climax in Coelho’s life was when he journeyed to Amsterdam and met a stranger who told him to make the traditional Roman Catholic pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. Coelho took the journey in 1986. (The name ‘Santiago’ was one of the major influences for the novel’s protagonist). It was after this experience Coelho experienced an epiphany, wrote the novel The Alchemist, and finally pursued his dream as a writer.
Watch one of Paulo’s untold stories about his top selling book, The Alchemist, as he gets interviewed by Oprah Winfrey