Paulo Coelho: POW-loo KWAY-lew
Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1970, after deciding that law school was not for him, he traveled through much of South America, North Africa, Mexico, and Europe. Returning to Brazil after two years, he began a successful career as a popular songwriter. In 1974, he was imprisoned for a short time by the military dictatorship then ruling in Brazil.
In 1988, Coelho published The Alchemist, which has sold more than 11 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 41 languages. He has written more than a dozen novels, including The Pilgrimage and Veronika Decides to Die, both of which are being adapted to film.
Coelho is an outspoken activist for peace and social justice, and also supports the free distribution of his work. He and his wife Christina split their time between Rio de Janeiro, and France.
This biography was last updated on 10/25/2010.
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PAULO COELHO ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT ELEVEN MINUTES
Rio de Janeiro, March 2003
The title of Eleven Minutes is inspired by Irving Wallace's novel The Seven Minutes, published in the 70s. Wallace's bestseller deals with a long-running legal battle over the banning of a book that takes a close look at sex: in particular the seven-minute duration of the average sexual encounter. Although this censored book never existed, Paulo Coelho imagined its content and determined to write it. While Coelho abandoned his original idea, The Seven Minutes remains the inspiration for the title (modified to Eleven Minutes because Coelho found Wallace's original estimate too conservative) and the subject matter: an attempt to talk about the association and dissociation of bodily pleasures in relation to those of the heart.
After a conference in Italy in 1999, Coelho returned to his hotel to find a manuscript waiting for him. It was the story of a Brazilian prostitute, Sonia, recounting her life in Europe. The text interested him and, three years later, he was finally able to meet her in Zurich. She took him to the local red light district, Langstrasse, where his visit turned into an unusual signing session during which ...
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