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Paulo Coelho

Sue Lawley's castaway is writer Paulo Coelho.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the author Paulo Coelho. Paulo Coelho is a publishing phenomenon - his books have sold more than 65 million copies and he counts Bill Clinton and Madonna among his readers. His most popular work and the one that earned him an international reputation is The Alchemist - a slender tale of a shepherd boy who risked everything to pursue his dreams. Coelho's detractors say his books are little more than self-help manuals - but his readers say their lives really have been changed by the simple wisdom of his stories.

Paulo Coelho's life is as extraordinary as any work of fiction. He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947 to middle class parents who wanted him to become a lawyer. But, since winning his first literary prize in a school poetry competition, Paulo was determined to be a writer. His parents disapproved and, alarmed at their son's wayward lifestyle, repeatedly had him commited to an institution where he was given electric shock therapy. He later found success writing song lyrics - but his words were deemed subversive by the military police and he was captured and tortured. He was 40 years old before he finally pursued his own dream and started writing novels and he is now one of the most succesful writers in the world.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Symphony No 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Book: The complete works by Oscar Wilde
Luxury: A trip around my island on Concorde

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 8 Jul 2005 09:00

Music Played

  • U2

    Mysterious Ways

    • U2 The Best of 1990-2000.
    • Island.
  • The Beatles

    The Long and Winding Road

    • The Beatles/1962-1966.
    • Apple.
  • Pink Floyd

    Atom Heart Mother

    • Atom Heart Mother.
    • EMI.
  • Roberto Carlos

    Quero Que Vá Tudo Pr'o Inferno

    • Jovem Guarda.
    • CBS.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Ludwig van Beethoven

      Symphony No. 9 in D minor 'Choral'

      Orchestra: Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam Conductor: Bernard Haitink

      • Symphony No 9 in D Minor.
      • Philips.
  • The Beatles


    • Abbey Road.
    • Parlophone.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor - 2nd movement

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Claudio Abbado

    • Chopin: Piano Concerto No 1.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Sinéad O’Connor

    Nothing Compares 2 U

    • Missing You.
    • EMI.
  • Book Choice

    • The complete works - Oscar Wilde

  • Luxury Choice

    • A trip around my island on Concorde


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Paulo Coelho


  • Sun 3 Jul 2005 11:15
  • Fri 8 Jul 2005 09:00

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