Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, Paulo Coelho worked as a composer, a journalist, and as an author and director for the theatre before dedicating his life to books. His books have been published in 168 countries and translated into 80 languages. His biggest success, The Alchemist, is considered the highest selling book written by a Brazilian.
He was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2002, and in 2007 was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. He has been married to Christina Oiticica since 1979.