Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947. Having travelled extensively throughout Latin America, as well as Europe and North Africa, he was at various times a playwright, a theatre director , and a popular songwriter for some of Brazil's most famous pop musicians. With the publication of his first books, The Pilgrimage (1987) and The Alchemist (1988) he embarked on a career that would establish him as Brazil's best known novelist. His books have sold more than 21 million copies world wide and have been translated into 42 languages. He has received numerous literary awards from a wide variety of countries. His books dominate the bestseller lists in France, Italy, Germany & Greece.