The Alchemist we all admire- Paulo Coelho
Critically acclaimed Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho. It describes in-depth his journey from a rebellious teenager to the most followed writer on social media.
Early Life of this path breaking author
Paulo Coelho is something of an enigma and his writing is beyond compare. He is undoubtedly one of the world's best known writers of the last few decades. His story can be considered as a rag to riches story. He had very humble beginnings and he had very revolutionary ideas right from the beginning of his life. Despite facing a lot of opposition from his family, he was determined to follow the path he had chosen for himself.
Paulo Coelho is the only living author of the most translated book in the world. He is the author of the novel "The Alchemist" that has sold over 35 million copies. Bestowed with several international awards, he enjoys tremendous support from his fan base of 41 million on social media. Born in Brazil, Coelho studied at a Jesuit school. Right from his teenage, he aspired to become a writer. However, his career choice was not well appreciated by his parents.
"What is your dream?" The only reply I can think of is to make Coelho write essay for me. If you read along, you will know why. Coelho was admitted to a mental asylum at 17, owing to his opposition to stereotypical career choices. He managed to escape thrice from the institution and was finally released at the age of twenty. Upon being pressurized by parents, Coehlo joined a law school and bid goodbye to his dream of becoming an accomplished writer. He travelled through Mexico, South America, North America and Europe after having dropped out of his law school, just a year later.
He was living the life of a hippie and was fell prey to drug abuse. After Coelho returned to Brazil, he started composing songs for Rita Lee, Elis Regina, and Raul Seixas. He was under arrest in 1974 because his song lyrics were deemed as "left-winged" and dangerous by the then military government in Brazil. He has also worked as a theatre actor and journalist before pursuing his childhood ambition of being a writer.
In 1986, Coehlo had a spiritual awakening while he was walking down the Road to Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain. In an interview, he revealed that he was satisfied with the companionship Coehlo had or the money he churned as a songwriter. However, he realized that his real calling was his dream of being a writer.
Writing Career of this illustrious author
Following his spiritual awakening, he wrote the book "The Pilgrimage" in 1986. In 1987, he went on to publish his second book, "The Alchemist" which gave him the status and repute that he has today. A small publisher in Brazil published this book with an initial print run of 900 copies. By the time his next book Brida got published, his second novel had already begun its revolution. It was then translated into 81 different languages which also made Coehlo a Guinness World Record holder.
The Alchemist's story is about a shepherd who travels from Spain to the Egyptian Desert in the quest for a treasure buried in the Great Pyramids. None is aware of the whereabouts of the wealth. It starts out as a man's journey to achieve worldly goods and materialistic gains but eventually ends up discovering the treasure within himself. The book, therefore, has inspired great personalities across the world including Madonna, Will Smith, Madonna, Pharrell Williams and even the former American President, Bill Clinton.
Since then, Coelho has maintained a writing streak of one novel every two years. The other publications include The Fifth Mountain; by the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Zahir and The Spy. In total, he has published around 30 books. The Aleph, The Valkyries, and the Pilgrimage are autobiographical while the rest of his books are fictional. He has sold over 210 million books across 170 countries. He was also listed in the top 200 Most Influential Authors in the World by Richtopia, a UK Based Company.
Coelho frequents the social media blogs at least three times a week. His social media fans eagerly await for his social media updates. In 2014, he discussed his relationship with his readers on social media with the Wall Street Journal.
He created a virtual Paulo Coelho Foundation in November 2014 by uploading around 80,000 plus diaries, documents, press clippings and reader letters. The trust was physically founded in Geneva.
His books are true works of arts that will make you think hard about the big questions in life. There is a philosophical streak in Coelho that comes out in many different ways through his work. Writing an essay about him or his work is not easy as it is quite hard to put the feelings that his work brings to mind into words. The messages that he is trying to convey through his books are worth heeding by anyone and everyone.
Film Adaptions of his work
Não Pare na Pista is the movie based on the life of the writer. The international title of the film is The Pilgrim - Story of Paulo Coelho. It was a co-production between Angélica Huete's Babel Films in Spain and Brazil's Dama Filmes. Iôna de Macedo, Carolina Kotscho led it and was directed by Daniel Augusto.
The cast members include
and make-up artists Montse Ribé and David Marti.
Coelho got married in 1980 with Christina Oiticica. They now permanently reside in Geneva, Switzerland. Coelho founded the Paulo Coelho Institute in 1996. The institute provides support to elderly and the children. Coehlo was raised in a Catholic family, but he left his faith in the early 20s. However, he is a devout Catholic now.
Coelho's books are indeed inspiring and thought provoking. His online popularity is a testimony to the reader's admiration and love for his work. His critics have dismissed his writings for promoting spirituality without rigor. He is a man whose books can instil a deep sense of satisfaction in you.
You can either love or hate him but definitely cannot ignore him. His books are something far removed from what we usually see nowadays. If you pick up one of his books, you will not be able to put it down. In truth you might have to read the book a few times to get the whole meaning of it.