One of the most influential writers of our time, Paulo Coelho is the author of thirty international bestsellers, including The Alchemist, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Manual of the Warrior of Light, and Eleven Minutes. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters and a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Paulo is the recipient of 115 international prizes and awards, among them, the Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur (Legion of Honor). Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, he soon discovered his vocation for writing. He worked as a director, theater actor, songwriter, and journalist. In 1986, a special meeting led him to make the pilgrimage to Saint James Compostela (in Spain). The Road to Santiago was not only a common pilgrimage but a turning point in his existence. A year later, he wrote The Pilgrimage, an autobiographical novel that is considered the beginning of his literary career. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland.