Paulo Coelho: History

Apart from The Alchemist, the Brazilian author also wrote other books unanimously praised by literary critics all over the world. Among these, the most notable are Brida, and especially By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, where he mixes all the features specific for romance novels and travel literature to create a beautiful initiation story located in the fascinating Piedra Monastery. In 1996, this work of Coelho (who, in the meantime, was known in his country as “the wizard of letters” and had surpassed Jorge Amado, becoming the best-selling Brazilian author) became the most purchased publication at the thirteenth São Paulo International Book Biennial.

However, Coelho’s success did not stop here. He published a new story of great interest, entitled The Greatest Gift, adapted after Henry Drummond, and later he added to his works a beautiful novel based on a fragment of the Old Testament, named The Fifth Mountain. The success of this latter book was so spectacular that the first edition, printed in one hundred thousand copies, sold out within the first two weeks after release. Veronika decides to Die, a novel about insanity, was released on February 24, 2000 and sold 1.5 million copies in Brazil alone. Two years later, on July 25, 2002, he joined the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL).

The Brazilian writer and academician chose the spring of 2003 to release his novel Eleven Minutes, the most sensual of his well-appraised works. Among other honors, Paulo Coelho was named Knight of the Arts and Letters in France (1996) and Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honor (2000) in the same country, and he also won the Flaiano International Prize (1996) and Super Grinzane Cavour Book Award (1996). Moreover, he is a special UNESCO counselor in programs regarding spiritual convergence and intercultural dialogue.

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