Paulo Coelho was born in Brazil, raised in a strict Catholic family and wrote the best selling book "The Alchemist." He has written over 14 books as of 2015 and founded the Paulo Coelho Institute, which offers financial aid to impoverished children and adults.
Paulo Coelho was born in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His family was devout Catholic, and Coelho attended Jesuit schools. Despite his strict upbringing, Coelho expressed at a young age his desire to be a writer.
During his adolescent years, Coelho was rebellious, and his parents had him committed to a mental institution when he was 17. Coelho escaped and was returned to the institution three times before he was finally released at age 20.
Coelho's family did not approve of his desire to become an author. His parents did not believe that this was a practical career for a Brazilian and wanted him to pursue engineering. To appease his parents, Coelho enrolled in law school in 1970 but dropped out soon after to pursue a hippie lifestyle.
Coelho's first book was called "Hell's Archives" and was not widely received. His second book, "The Pilgrimage," was released in 1987. Coelho's most successful book was "The Alchemist," released in 1987, but it did not become a commercial success until 1990. This title is featured in the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the most translated book by a living author as of 2015.
Coelho has sold over 100 million books in 150 countries. His success led him to create the Paulo Coelho Institute, which provides services to children, the elderly and mentally ill in Brazil. The institute is funded entirely by Coelho's book royalties.