Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1947. During his second year of law school Coelho chose to abandon his studies and travel throughout Central and South America, Europe and North Africa. He sought out information on secret societies, religions and mysticism, which eventually led him to join a branch of Catholicism called Regnus Agnus Mundi. He detailed his 1986 spiritual journey along the Santiago de Compostela, the Road of Santiago, in his book The Pilgrimage. Coelho’s first major success as an author came with the 1988 publication of his book The Alchemist, an adult fable in which a boy embarks upon a courageous journey and learns to follow his heart. The Alchemist has been translated into 56 languages and has sold over 40 million copies in more than 150 countries. Many of Coelho’s subsequent books have also become bestsellers including Eleven Minutes and The Zahir. His latest novel is The Witch of Portobello.