Novelist, journalist and screenwriter for the Brazilian television, as well as a multifaceted humanist, Paulo Coelho has ventured successfully in very different fields, like those of music, journalism, theater and television. However, he really burnished his name in the realm of contemporary fiction, a genre that he has enriched with one of the most important short novels of the final quarter of the 20th century: The Alchemist.
Son of a wealthy family, Paulo Coelho received a good education in a Jesuit school, and then he went on to study Law. But his literary vocation, which he had discovered from a very early age, made him drop out of school in order to pursue his passion for writing and to engage in any activity that would allow him to stay in touch with literary creativity.
Consequently, he worked for a while as a theater teacher, and in the meanwhile he started writing his first compositions for samba and bossa nova troupes. In his works, there is a remarkable influence of different spiritual movements, in close connection with the principles of the hippie movement of the 1960s. In later years (from 1974 to 1981), his interest and knowledge in music made him accept an executive position at the recording departments of Polygram. Before that, Paulo Coelho had also practiced journalism, a career that culminated with his position as a director of the Express Underground journal.
Although caught between all these activities, Coelho did not abandon his dream of becoming a famous writer. Finally, the decisive impulse came in 1981, when he traveled to the Netherlands with his wife to meet Jean, a mysterious person who, from that moment on, became his mentor and influenced the Brazilian writer in the same way that a spiritual guru influences his disciples.