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The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

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The Pilgrimage




Ricardo Sabanes International Publishing Director Editorial Planeta


The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

twentyfive years of the p ilgrim I stumbled across O Diário de um Mago [The Diary of a Magus] quite by accident. It was 1993 and I was in Los Angeles exploring a world of books very different from the mainstream of the time. A literary agent friend of mine mentioned a Brazilian author who stood out from all the others. I noted down the name: Paulo Coelho. This was an odd situation, because here was an American literary agent recommending a Brazilian author whom he didn’t represent and who had, up until then, only been published in Portuguese. Shortly after returning to Buenos Aires, I asked an acquaintance who was about to visit Brazil to bring me back a copy of The Diary of a Magus and The Alchemist. I still have those small-format books with their black, rather esoteric covers, which did not,

I felt, reflect the sheer luminosity of the stories contained within. I failed in my attempts to acquire the translation rights for those books by Paulo, but imagine my surprise when Planeta – the publishing house I work for – acquired Editorial Martínez Roca, and with them came the contract for The Diary of a Magus. Shortly afterwards, I published the first edition in Argentina. It was slow to sell, but the seed was sown. That was when Mônica Antunes got in touch with me and we began a working relationship that has lasted ever since. I published Brida, and when, in 1995, the moment came to launch By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, I suggested relaunching The Diary of a Magus under the title El Peregrino [The Pilgrim], taking my inspiration from the title HarperCollins had chosen for the English translation, The Pilgrimage. Every new book published by Paulo since then has been a huge success, topping the best-seller lists and with millions of copies sold. I’ve always remembered, however, that I only stumbled on The Pilgrim by accident, or was I perhaps looking for it…

encounter on a french terrace It was in the beginning of the nineties – I was on holiday in France – and I had a bag full of books that I wanted to read. The title of one of these books was The Pilgrimage, by Paulo Coelho. I didn’t know the author, the book was a French translation, the story was set in the Pyrenees, and I thought Paulo was French! I remember sitting on a lovely terrace in the shadow of a beautiful plane tree, drinking my coffee, reading Paulo’s book… After a while, a man walked towards me, he sat down at a table next to mine and ordered a croissant and an espresso. After a few minutes he put on his sunglasses and took a book out of his backpack. I didn’t see it immediately, but when he put his book on the table to take a bite from his crois-sant, I recognised the name of the author and the title of the book: he was reading the same book! I was reading it in French, he in English! Of course, we started talking about The Pilgrimage. The English-

man wasn’t just reading the book, he was also on the road to Santiago. He explained to me why he had chosen to do so and reading Paulo’s book he recognised a lot of his own feelings, thoughts and reasons. ‘The story of this book’, he said, ‘is also my own story’.

Lex Jansen Publishing Director De Arbeiderspers/A.W. Bruna Publishers

I have been the publisher of Paulo’s books in the Netherlands since 2001. We still sell The Pilgrimage and the book is findTHE NETHERLANDS ing more readers every day; readers looking for adventure, not only by exploring the Road to Santiago, but also in the spiritual sense of the word. And now and then I hear readers say that reading The Pilgrimage helps them recognize their own story. At such moments I think of that encounter on the terrace, in the shadow of the plane tree and I remember vividly the chat I had with the Englishman who was reading the same book. I am sure The Pilgrimage will find many more readers: people who are determined to find their own road to fulfilment.

‘On the path of life, we will always find problems that are hard to resolve. That is when you need to let your Creative Imagination take over.’

‘The only way to make the right decision is by knowing which is the wrong decision and by examining the other path without fear or dread, and then deciding.’

The Pilgrimage

The Pilgrimage


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The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

In Korea, Paulo Coelho has been one of the best-loved foreign authors of the last 10 years. Munhakdongne has published a book by Paulo Coelho every year, and many Korean readers have fallen in love with Paulo’s works, so full of magical, resonant words, and enjoyed many happy hours of reading.

Byoung-sun Kang CEO Munhakdongne Publishing Corp.


Paulo walked the Road to Santiago, one of the most beautiful journeys in the world, and wrote The Pilgrimage, thus beginning his new career as a writer, which had, until then, been only a dream. Most of all, The Pilgrimage tells us that the extraordinary lies on the path taken by ordinary people, and, when we published the book in 2006, that idea brought great hope and courage to many Korean readers. Readers have made comments such as: ‘My heart beat faster while reading the book, which took me on a pilgrimage into the unknown’; ‘I felt like I was walking alongside the author’; ‘I will always keep this book with me’; and ‘The Pilgrimage is entirely about rebirth.’ One of the reviews said: ‘I walked the Road to Santiago a few years ago… walked alone in the dark, I had no light, but

I did not turn back, and that experience helped me to survive difficult times later on… whether you’ve been to Santiago or not, The Pilgrimage will offer you real enlightenment. We are all pilgrims in Life.’ Indeed, the Road to Santiago was almost unknown to Koreans until Paulo introduced it to them. Among Korean travellers, The Pilgrimage is called the Bible of the Road to Santiago. All travellers on the Road, setting off to find their own self, probably carry a sentence from The Pilgrimage in their hearts. In 2011, along with Aleph, Munhakdongne released a new edition of The Pilgrimage. As Paulo says in Aleph: ‘Together we write the Book of Life, our every encounter determined by fate and our hands joined in the belief that we can make a difference in this world.’ It may be because of fate that we meet and read certain books. I hope and believe that fate will lead many more people to encounter The Pilgrimage and find valuable lessons in it on their own pilgrimage through life. Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of The Pilgrimage.

‘Don’t try to be brave when it is enough to be intelligent.’ The Pilgrimage

san giacomo, paulo and me To start with it’s mainly a question of dates. In 1987, Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage was published. Today, 2012, is the twenty-fifth anniversary of its first publication and eleven years since the Italian translation was published by Bompiani, entitled Il Cammino di Santiago, in September 2001, a fateful date for the West. Since then, with over 30 editions, it has sold more than 600,000 copies. But it’s not just a question of dates. There’s something more - much more. This work by Paulo is one that doesn’t fade with time; it stays in the hearts of its readers. The ‘Pilgrimage’ is the transfiguration of the real pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela made by Paulo in a quest to reach the source of his inspiration and the foundations of his ethical, religious and artistic commitment. In the book, the journey, taken in initiatory stages, is a path of wisdom which gives readers worldwide the possibility, by retracing those stages, of finding that same ‘light’ that Paulo found in a particular moment of his existence. I would like to underline two points. The first concerns ‘ordinary people’, everyday people: Paulo is addressing them, and this I believe is both the origin and the simple, decisive explanation for his international fame. That individual awareness, that inner strength since time immemorial, we can all draw on, and authentic literature shows that this possibility is ever present, eternally present, I’d say. The other point

consists, I believe, in the fact that books like The Pilgrimage enrich our way of intending fiction. Not only communication and storytelling but also first-person accounts by the author who puts himself on the line alongside his readers. Then there are secret bonds between myself and Paulo’s Pilgrimage, that I like to remember, concerning O Diário de um Mago, his first book, which was imITALY mediately followed by The Alchimist, the book with which Paulo introduced himself to Italian readers, published by Bompiani in 1995. ‘La concha’, or the scallop shell of St James, has been the symbol of the pilgrimage to the town of Santiago de Compostela since the Middle Ages, and St. James is also the patron saint of the small town of Ro Ferrarese, where I spent my childhood and where my parents still live, whose feast day is 25th July, the month in which I signed the contract for L’Alchimista, thanks to my friend and Paulo’s literary agent Mônica Antunes. At this point I’d say it all fits. It must be the secret correspondence that Baudelaire talks about and that I think about several times in the bottom of my heart, to myself (there are several more of these correspondences between Paulo and me, which are related also to my parents, but I keep them for myself). Poetry applied to our destinies.

Elisabetta Sgarbi Publisher Bompiani


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The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

happiness is possible

Marcela Serras Deputy Director Editorial Planeta


‘Happiness is possible.’ That is the prize waiting at the end of the road, the message which, for centuries now, every pilgrim has received when he or she reaches the Plaza del Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela, a message that Paulo Coelho made his own in 1986, for in Santiago, he realised that his journey, as well as ending, was also just beginning. A year later, he published his first book, The Pilgrimage. Twenty-five years on, that book has become an obligatory reference point for anyone deciding to set off along the Road to Santiago for the first time, and its world-wide publication was a decisive factor in the increased number of pilgrims arriving from all points of the globe. It is hardly surprising, then, that Paulo

should have been invited to sign the book for honoured guests in the town hall in Santiago de Compostela or that he should have a street named after him in the barrio of San Marcos, next to - can you guess? the Calle del Peregrino – the Street of the Pilgrim. Where else? ‘Dazzling’, ‘revealing’, ‘essential’, ‘moving’, ‘magical’. These are just some of the enthusiastic, heartfelt words left on social networking sites, internet forums and web pages by Spanish-speaking readers from around the world. And there have now been well over one hundred Spanish editions of The Pilgrimage. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the book is a real milestone, and the number of new readers drawn to The Pilgrimage each year is further proof that the book’s message is as valid now as it was then. As publishers of Paulo’s work, we feel proud to have been part of that journey and are still excited by the idea that what matters is not reaching your destination, but the journey itself.

‘When someone wants something then they should be aware that they are taking a risk. But this is precisely what makes life interesting.’ The Pilgrimage

As Paulo often says, if you believe in something with all your heart, nothing can stop you from achieving your goal. This statement perfectly encapsulates his own personal journey to inner fulfilment, as Paulo’s lifelong dream of becoming a writer eventually came true: First he took the road to Santiago de Compostela, then he wrote about it. Daniel Keel, who founded Diogenes Verlag in 1952, did not have to walk miles and miles to become Paulo’s publisher, but it was certainly no easy task. The Alchemist had already been published in Germany – yet strangely without much success. After a year of negotiations and a great deal of effort and conviction, Daniel Keel finally secured the German translation rights. In a new hardcover edition and a completely revised translation The Alchemist took the German bestseller lists by storm and reigned supreme for ten years, selling more than 2 million copies. There was a strong mutual bond between the author and his publisher right from the start: Daniel Keel believed in the success of Paulo’s books in Germany – and Paulo believed in Daniel Keel as a publisher and a friend. And perhaps the road to Santiago can be seen as a symbol of the path that Diogenes and Paulo shared. Daniel Keel was born in Einsiedeln, one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in Switzerland, the origins of which date back to the 11th century. During the Middle Ages, Einsiedeln was an important stop-over for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. When

Keel and I went to visit his hometown Einsiedeln a few years ago, we Daniel Kampa Member of the Board of Directors went to one of the largest priDiogenes Verlag vate libraries in Switzerland, with more than 50 000 books, the Bibliothek Werner Oechslin, which is located not far from the famous monastery and Daniel Keel’s birthplace. The building was designed by the architect Mario Botta, who deliberately placed the library on the SWITZERLAND axis of the Road to Santiago de Compostela. After all, the books show the way. In 1999, The Pilgrimage was published by Diogenes with immense success, and a million copies have been sold to date. If one were to line up all of Paulo’s Diogenes copies in a row, more than 10 million in total, they would cover a distance of 987 kilometres, nearly twice the distance between Einsiedeln in Switzerland and Santiago de Compostela. That’s quite a journey! In 2011, Barack Obama visited Paulo’s home country of Brazil. In a speech given there, he said: ‘It’s why we believe, in the words of Paulo Coelho, one of your most famous writers, “With the strength of our love and our will, we can change our destiny, as well as the destiny of many others.”’ With his books Paulo really did change his readers’ paths in life. The journey continues and Diogenes is proud to walk next to Paulo.


The Pilgrimage




Milan Gelnar Director Nakladatelství ARGO


I appreciate that Paulo Coelho’s book The Pilgrimage convincingly portrays his personal experience of the journey to Compostela in such a compelling manner. The fact that human existence has a meaning and everyone has the task of searching for and completing their mission is the major message of the book. The Pilgrimage is a spiritual testimony and a beautifully written manual on life! Below is a letter by a Czech reader to Argo. Dear publisher,


The Pilgrimage

I do not know whether my story will be of interest to you, but it is so remarkable that I simply must share it with you. Thanks a lot for publishing books by Paulo Coelho in such a beautiful presentation and excellent translation. There is everything in them. When I finally set out on my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, it was 2003 and I had a copy of The Pilgrimage in my backpack, which I had been given as a Christmas gift by my friends. I was very pleased by the book; Paulo Coelho is one of my favourite authors. I planned my journey exactly in line with the book so I was in Saint-JeanPied-de-Port on June 1st, the same as the Magician. I started to make notes in the book confessing to it my feelings during the pilgrimage. Everything went according to the plan until I reached Castrojeriz and, actually, a full more day after that. However, when I came to the dormitory in the evening and wanted to pull out my book and read it, I discovered that there was everything in the bag except for the book. I was horrified, I was desperate, but I had to put up with it and accept that this was some kind of

a sign. I was just halfway to my destination and I was to get there on my own although the book was really my best friend. I completely forgot about the lost book after the years but then something incredible happened. My daughter, who was eleven at the time of my pilgrimage, grew up, got married and gave birth to my first grandson. After the baptism, he was given gifts, as the tradition goes. Among them, there was also a book that caught my attention. It was exactly The Pilgrimage! A friend of my son-in-law gave it to his godson so that he might always have strong guidance on his life’s journey. I took the book in my hands nostalgically and, after having opened it, I was stunned. In the book, there were my notes and, from the middle of the pilgrimage, there were some other notes written by another hand! It turned out that the son-in-law’s set out on his pilgrimage in the same year; he was seventeen at that time, and he was given the book by a lady, a member of the local staff, who had found out it was in Czech in the meantime. The book helped him a lot, as it did to me. And, one day, it will certainly help also my grandson, little Jakub. Letter by a Czech reader to Argo

The Pilgrimage, for me, remains one of Paulo’s most personal and profound works. It is hard to believe that already twenty-five years have passed since Paulo wrote the book and twenty-six since he first walked the way of St James, following an instinct and discovering his destiny as a writer who would leads many millions of others to, in turn, discover their own. HarperCollins was fortunate enough to bring this amazing book to English language readers worldwide two decades ago, five years after its first publication, and we are still overwhelmed by the response. The sales built by word of mouth and grew and grew across all of our territories and copies have sold every week, year in and year out, defying prevailing consumer trends. Very quickly, The Pilgrimage established itself as a classic and wonderful gift. We always see an increase toward Christmas, when readers of The Pilgrimage buy this for others, hoping the New Year brings new discoveries. The response to this book and to Paulo’s work is deep and passionate. I recall one book signing in central London, when the fans were so ardent the booksellers had to shut the metal gate at the front of the shop to make sure we didn’t break fire regulations and swarm the store. I think Paulo’s work touches fans because he writes with complete honesty and integrity and amazing simplicity about his own experience, sharing the very deepest and most profound revelations and thereby inviting readers to discover their

own truths, their own destinies and their own ‘personal legend’. Many readers over the years have written in to express their thanks or share how this book galvanised their own metaphysical or literal pilgrimage, many people walking the whole Way of the Pilgrim themselves. The readers tell powerful stories of quitting jobs, leaving bad relationships, starting creative projects, finding new love by learning the language of the heart, and discovering richness and meaning never before known.

Carole Tonkinson Publisher for HarperNonFiction HarperCollins


I have only walked part of the way, from Paris to Chartres, but was touched by what I found: the memory of the farmers along the route helping pilgrims and offering us water to drink and even a cave to sleep in one night. And of course the moment at the end of the walk, seeing the spire of the cathedral emerge from the landscape and feeling a sense of celebration, relief and a kind of revelation. Even now, more than a decade later, I remember the sweetness coupled with the weariness of foot. I send Paulo warmest congratulations on this important anniversary. My birthday wish for this book is that it keeps inspiring a new generation of readers to find their own way and be curious about life and willing to take risks, so that they too can ‘arrive at the right moment at the place where someone awaits them’.


The Pilgrimage




The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

By the time The Pilgrimage was first published in a proper Russian translation in 2006, I had already read many of Paulo’s books, including his most famous ones like The Alchemist, Veronika Decides to Die and The Zahir. And yet there was still a feeling of expectation surrounding the long-awaited Russian translation of The Pilgrimage, a book surrounded by legends and rumours.

Katia Panchenko Project Director Astrel


I remember my first intense impression of the Road itself. It seemed to me that I could smell the grass and hear the sounds of rain and birds. These pages were so vivid, so powerful and touching that I immediately felt a desire to get up and set off on my own journey, to see all those marvels with my own eyes, to meet those people, and just walk and walk and walk beneath that sky. The Pilgrimage is an autobiographical novel, which helps the reader understand the beginning of the author’s journey and of the whole Pau-

lo Coelho phenomenon. It is a very honest account of a man setting out on a journey and shows us how making a very personal decision can lead you anywhere, ultimately to your true self. It tells us how difficult it can be to struggle not so much with the world, but with your own fears, and how hard it can be to move on and believe both in your fate and in yourself. The Pilgrimage also gives the reader a unique sense of satisfaction and confidence, and even if you already know the end of the story, it still surprises you, like an unexpected gift. I have read many readers’ comments, most of which express that same feeling of excitement. Here are a couple of them: ‘His first and probably his most moving book.’ tatiana ‘A very unusual book. You don’t just read it, you live it. It makes you think about your life in a new way. A brilliant work.’ alexander

‘We always have a tendency to see those things that do not exist and to be blind to the great lessons that are right there before our eyes.’ The Pilgrimage

Dear Paulo, On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the publication of The Pilgrimage, there are several points I could emphasize. First and foremost, however, let me congratulate you, along with your wonderful team, on this special moment. As we celebrate this milestone, we at HarperCollins would like to express our enthusiasm and gratitude to be a part of your journey. We are honored and thrilled with this opportunity to look back at some of our fondest memories to date. It is noteworthy that The Pilgrimage embodies those aspects of your writing that I have come to know and respect most as a publisher. I am referring to its universality, both in its spatial scope and timely message. Just a few weeks ago, I found myself once again engaged in a conversation with one reader whose life was different because of this important work. I shared my perspective as publisher; he shared his story about how The Pilgrimage had led him straight to Santiago—an experience he shared with his brother with whom he was able to establish a real connection for the very first time. The fact that he shared this deeply spiritual journey with me, a stranger

whom he had just met, is a case in point. For me, this is what The Pilgrimage is all about. Like the sages and warriors you have written about over the years, its message is strong and clear. We all have a path in front of us, waiting to be discovered if we seek it. In this era of globalization, our need for this message is only increasing further. For this reason, I want to US praise your willingness to, through the process of your writing, bring into the globalized world those who have been left out. Those who have been seeking universal lessons in countries around the world. And those whose lives you have transported and transformed. I am certain that you will continue to deliver major contributions to our global community over the 25 years to come and hope to celebrate many more milestones together. For now, as I look back at our partnership to this day, I want to leave you with these words, which I cannot emphasize enough: Thank you.

Mark Tauber Senior Vice President, Publisher HarperOne


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The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

Paulo Coelho is one of the most successful authors on Livanis’ list, with all of his books being huge bestsellers. His value as an author and as a person is beyond price.

Giota Livani President Livanis Publishing Organization

As far as The Pilgrimage is concerned, I personally believe that, together with The Alchemist, it transformed the way younger generations think.


Over the years, Paulo has become a symbol in our country and a reference point in the world of publishing, marketing, advertising and culture.

Even though I was quite young when I read Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage, I immediately realised that I was holding a book that was truly unique. It was the extraordinary tale of a journey along the legendary road to Santiago, but more than that, it was the story of a hero who was not afraid to discover his own reason for living.

Can Oz General Director Can Yayinlari


In this novel, Paulo is not saying that we should be perfect, rather, he believes that what matters is having the ability or the courage to learn and to change, and that feelings of failure or fear are inevitable. That’s why there is no difference between Paulo and his mentor Petrus. Neither man is superior to the other.

The people of Greece, especially in these very hard times, need hope, enlightenment, a refuge, and Paulo’s book provided that. The Pilgrimage is an important example of how someone found his soul, his destiny, his motivation. I hope that all of us will find inspiration in his personal life and in his work and make our own ‘Pilgrimage’. Thank you, Paulo, for everything you have done and for all that you intend to do in the future!

They are companions on this incredible journey and experience the excitement, serenity and joy together. It isn’t hard to see why Paulo is one of the best-loved authors of our times. He opens his heart to every reader and shares his valuable experiences with them honestly. 25 years ago, The Pilgrimage came into people’s lives like a gift. It still inspires many readers to discover their inner potential and make a difference to their lives. Every reader whose path crosses The Pilgrimage takes from it a sense of hope and the pleasure of new challenges that give meaning to life and encourage them to find their own faith.

our most successful author ‘Who is your number 1 bestselling writer?’ – Paulo Coelho asked fourteen years ago during his first visit to Bulgaria. The Alchemist had been published by Obsidian 2 years earlier and had sold 4,000 books, which was a satisfactory result for a small country of 7 million. ‘John Grisham,’ we said. ‘I hope some day I’ll be among your top five authors,’ Paulo said modestly. Now he is the only contemporary writer with over half a million copies sold in Bulgaria. There are many books about the 100 places one should visit before one dies. However, there are few good ‘travel books’ about the most impor-

It’s amazing to think that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of The Pilgrimage. China Times Publishing Company published it in 1999, two years after we had introduced The Alchemist to Taiwanese readers, who have known Paulo Coelho for 25 years now and love him very much. As with The Alchemist, Paulo takes us to a far-away land in this incredible account of his journey along the

tant destination one should by all means visit – one’s soul. The Pilgrimage is such a unique illuminating work, told honestly and movingly, a sincere account of the spiritual character of a journey along a centuriesold pilgrimage route – to Santiago de Compostela.

Dimitrina Kondeva Publisher Obsidian Press

It has been 25 years since the publication of this book that marks the beginning of Paulo’s commitment to describe his personal experiBULGARIA ence with soul-searching. The quest for spirituality is the greatest megatrend of our era and Paulo Coelho has an eye for the important trends of our time. He tells moral tales without being a dogmatic preacher.

Road to Santiago. Reading the book made me feel almost as if I were there, so much so that I hope to make the journey myself one day. We are going to publish his Aleph this year, and that’s a good way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of The Pilgrimage too.


Lynn Chen Editor-in-chief China Times Publishing Company


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The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

the pilgrimage – twentyfive years on

Pilar Gordoa Marketing and Production Director Random House Mondadori


I first met Paulo Coelho in November 2002, when he was guest of honour at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara in Mexico. By then, he was already an international bestseller, but, at the time, I had only read The Devil and Miss Prym. Seeing the faces of thousands of excited readers, some of whom had travelled hundreds of miles to meet him was enough to convince me that Paulo was different from other writers: he had managed to break down the barrier between author and reader. This was a phenomenon I felt I had to understand. I began with his first book, The Pilgrimage, which I read at one sitting.

I understood then why this book was so important to his subsequent career. Paulo had reached a critical stage in his life and, in The Pilgrimage, he finally found his voice as a writer. That voice allowed him to write a timeless work, in which every landscape, every character, every test along the way is imbued with his courage, faith and determination to give meaning to his search. In this first novel, the author reveals his most human side: his fears, his inner demons, his apprenticeship. Through parables, he encourages readers not just to follow their own path, but to struggle to give that path meaning in their own lives and to create their own personal legend. I have followed Paulo’s work for ten years now and I know how profoundly he touches his readers’ hearts. The Pilgrimage is a very special book, not only because it was his first book, but because it is clear proof that he found his personal meaning of life. Happy 25th Anniversary!

‘When we renounce our dreams, we find peace and enjoy a brief period of tranquillity, but the dead dreams begin to rot inside us and to infect the whole atmosphere in which we live. What we hoped to avoid in the Fight disappointment and defeat - become the sole legacy of our cowardice.’ The Pilgrimage

the extraordinary is waiting to be revealed on the path taken by ordinary people The Pilgrimage was first brought out by the Hungarian publishing house Athenaeum in 2005. Twelve print runs later, ‘the book that started it all’ is still a huge success among Hungarian readers. This work is different from the author’s later books in that it is a description of his personal experience and, as such, both an autobiography and a useful travelling companion for the pilgrim. In a way, this book is where it all began for Paulo the Writer, because his experience of walking the Road to Santiago led him deep into his innermost self and brought about important changes in his life. Everything that Paulo had known to be true was transformed by the recognition of that most natural and simple of truths: ‘The extraordinary is waiting to be revealed on the path taken by ordinary people’. As a writer, he strives to reveal the inherent riches of our soul and to lead us along the path to revelation.

author as a man, along with his philosophy and the knowledge he has gained through his study of psychology and human nature. In the words of one of his critics: ‘…the tale makes us probe deeply into the thoughts and emotions awakened in us by the Magus’s meditations and ideas. By following his lead, we will soon come to realise that the book’s real power resides not only in Coelho’s thoughts, but, rather, in the HUNGARY way those thoughts resonate and ripple inside us, awakening our own thoughts and emotions. This means that the reader is called upon to participate to a much greater extent than usual, by creating his or her individual interpretation of the work. When all is said and done, this book is an uplifting tale of spiritual quest, a compendium of cultural and historical details and, for the open-minded reader, a story that is at once compelling and stimulating.’ In short, this is the work that started it all: the first of many successful books published over the decades since, bringing a great author still greater renown.

The Pilgrimage provides the reader with a comprehensive picture of the

‘When you travel towards your objective, be sure to pay attention to the path. The path teaches us the best way to arrive and enriches us while we are travelling along it.’ The Pilgrimage

Géza Morcsányi Managing Director ATHENAEUM Kiadó / Publishing House


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The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

I clearly remember one weekend in 1989, just after the birth of my first daughter, going out onto the balcony of my apartment to read The Alchemist. This was my first encounter with Paulo Coelho, who, in the years that followed, would become the biggest publishing phenomenon in Brazil.

Marcos Pereira Managing Partner Sextante

In 1998, we created Editora Sextante, our mission being to produce books that would help people find the path to peace, happiness, spirituality and balance. By 2004, we had become one of the top five trade publishers in Brazil.


During that time, we continued to watch Paulo’s spectacularly successful global career. In 2010, Sextante got the rights to publish Aleph and it is a matter of great pride to us that, from this year on, we will be publishing all of Paulo’s books in Brazil, starting with the commemorative edition of The Pilgrimage. In his introduction, Paulo takes us back to 1986, when he was nearing the end of the Road to Santiago, still filled with anxieties and uncertainties about the future. It’s fascinating to look back on everything that has happened in those twenty-five years, and to think of the number of people he has influenced and continues to influence.

‘In order to fight the Good Fight, we need help. We need friends, and when our friends are not near, we must make of solitude our main weapon. Everything around us will help us take the steps we need to take towards our objective. Everything must be a personal manifestation of our will to win the Good Fight. If not, if we fail to understand that we need everyone and everything, we will be arrogant warriors. And our arrogance will, in the end, defeat us, because we will be so sure of ourselves that we won’t notice the snares and traps that strew the battlefield.’ The Pilgrimage

Paulo Coelho visited Croatia on two occasions, in 2000 and 2005. Today, twelve years after his first visit to Croatia, fans of literary arts, readers, critics, journalists, people of all ages still talk about how incredible those promotions in Zagreb were. There was never so much interest for a literary event in the capital of Croatia before, or after, Paulo’s visits. V.B.Z., Paulo’s Croatian publisher, was ‘under siege’. The phones kept ringing in our offices, e-mails were coming in every minute. People even contacted us privately, journalists and readers were ‘all over us’ and all of them wanted to spend at least a few minutes with Paulo. During his second visit to Zagreb, while Paulo was signing books, we heard numerous stories from ordinary, everyday people who were thanking him for helping them change their lives. His books helped them find their meaning again. Among those people, many had come from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Pilgrimage was published in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2003, almost a decade after the war had ended, when life was becoming normal again, and it has a very specific meaning for people from this region. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, almost along its border with Croatia, there is a small town called Medjugorje that was heard of around the world after it became known that miracles were supposedly happening there since 1985, just a few years before the war began. Have those miracles foreshadowed

the war and showed that people forgot how to listen to themselves and to find their peace? Today, Medjugorje (literally meaning ‘the area between mountains’) is a place of peace and reconciliation, and it has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the world. It is interesting that the church in Medjugorje is dedicated to St. James, the saint who the Road of Santiago is dedicated to. One of the messages of the Virgin Mary, who is said to CROATIA have appeared in Medjugorje, was: ‘Do all things out of love.’ Why has the phenomenon of Medjugorje happened in this part of the world? In order to save the world - peace is necessary. The one provided by God - inner peace and joy of the heart. These are exactly the main messages of The Pilgrimage. The Road of Santiago changed Paulo because he found true meaning and himself while on that path. It was exactly in this book that Paulo showed us how the path of dreams and love is open to everyone, even to those who suffered and believed that life had lost its meaning. Paulo said it best: ‘You shall see the face of God where you wish to see it.’ And people in the heart of Europe, caught in a terrible moment at the end of the 20th century, believed that this was impossible. This is why they accepted Paulo’s sincere life story with joy and wanted to thank him at the book promotion in Zagreb.

Bosko Zatezalo and Sandra Ukalovic General Manager and Editor V.B.Z


The Pilgrimage





a gentle push towards change

Valeria Malíková and Martin Vydra Managing Director and Editor-in-chief Ikar


The Pilgrimage

Since Paulo Coelho’s books first appeared in Slovakia, a considerable change has taken place. His fresh, inimitable voice, the inner depth of his storytelling and the almost exotic journey into the reader’s own soul have attracted a wide audience. Readers have found guidance and been spellbound by that new approach and by the experience brought by each of his books, and Paulo has become their inspirational leader. One reader says: ‘I’ve read this book several times, but it really swept me off my feet when I was on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. It’s an extraordinary piece of writing when you read it safe in the warmth of your own home, but out there on the road, a still deeper dimension unfolded.’ (Jakub). It seems almost unbelievable that we are now celebrating the 25th anniversary of this book. Some may say its power stems from its subject matter, which takes us far from the usual mass-market stereotypes; some may say that what touches you is the author’s voice born of his own turbulent life. Both of these views may

be true, but, above all, Paulo opens up new spaces, which are closer than you think: ‘The Pilgrimage is an unconventional travel book in which you are a witness to the way the storyteller changes as the journey progresses. It’s a change everyone can go through. And the question Paulo is asking is: Do you want to change?’ (Miloš). The inevitable call for inner change is presented here with a gentleness that could make the reader become a better person and learn to listen to the universe in different ways. For us, in the beginning, Paulo was just an author like many others. But then, after a couple of his books were published, we discovered that his readership is an organic unit, rather than just a bunch of fans. This marked the start of a change for us as publishers. Although we had been booklovers before, after teaming up with Paulo, we would never again regard books (including those by other authors) merely in terms of the number of copies printed or in terms of profit. Instead, books have become a link bringing us closer to our readers and authors. The 25th anniversary of The Pilgrimage is a perfect occasion to reflect on the fact that this story of a narrator’s inner change has influenced and re-shaped all those who encounter the book.

My life turned upside down in March 1995. At the age of 35, I had remained a resident of Paris for 14 years. Freshly returned from a long journey, I had an intense feeling that I should change something in my life. A friend gave me The Alchemist, which I devoured overnight; and when I woke up in the morning, I knew that I had to share this book’s message with other people, that I should go back to Poland and start a publishing house. By what miracle did I manage to meet Paulo Coelho at Hôtel du Danube in Paris a few days later? And why did he grant me publishing rights for his book on the same day, even though he realized that I had no publishing house, or money, or any idea about bookselling? This has been a mystery to me. I only know that on that day, I met one of the most extraordinary people in my life. I have not seen anyone with such a keen intuition, a person for whom someone’s enthusiasm is often worth more that the voice of reason. I don’t know anyone else who would be so industrious, so

curious of the world and open to people, so straightforward and warm-hearted. I know no other writer whose readers around the world would repeat the mantra, ‘Your books have changed my life’; a writer who invariably declares that a meeting with readers will take an hour, and then stays for five hours more, signing the books and frowning at me if I try to intervene. And yet, despite world fame, he POLAND remains a modest and frank person, a man for whom the words ‘loyalty’ and ‘friendship’ still hold a great meaning. Today, 17 years after that meeting at Hôtel du Danube, having published 14 Paulo’s novels and sold nearly 4 million books on the Polish market, I have understood that there is a great seed of truth in what Paulo Coelho once wrote, ‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’

‘Man can never stop dreaming. Dreams nourish the soul, just as food nourishes the body. We often see our dreams destroyed and our desires frustrated, but we have to keep on dreaming. The good fight is the one we engage in because our heart asks us to.’ The Pilgrimage

Basia Stepien Owner Drzewo Babel Publishing House


The Pilgrimage




The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

Øyvind Hagen Nordic Publisher/CEO Bazar Forlag


I came to The Pilgrimage fairly late. I bought the rights to The Alchemist very early on, in 1993, but it took many years and several other books by Paulo before I found time to read The Pilgrimage. I don’t know why really, except that a publisher’s life is a very hectic one and there are always so many books. But what a read it was! It’s the book in which Paulo really invents his genre, a genre that has always been his and of which he is the one true master: his wonder at the magic of life; his way of asking questions and leaving the reader to find the answers; the inner journeys he makes; his magical wisdom, which strikes a chord in every culture; all of which he combines with a story that is a kind of documentary in which he shares his life with us. To my mind, The Pilgrimage is Paulo’s best book, a journey into self-knowledge, a liberating pause in all the bustle. Here, his philosophy makes its debut, and we find many of the qualities that, only a few years later, would make him known worldwide. His principal message is that we all carry the extraordinary and the magnificent within us, that they are to be found in every life. Those who want to find the extraordinary in themselves need only follow the path forged by ordinary people, for that is the path that will help us reach our goals and fulfil our dreams. All of Paulo’s work is a journey towards humility, with our eyes wide open. I’m Norwegian. In The Pilgrimage Paulo’s first brief, mystical meeting takes place in Oslo where he receives a silver ring bearing the image of an ouroboros – the snake that bites its own tail – the symbol of the order of RAM. If we draw a circle around the pentagram laid over Southern Norway we find the snake that bites its tail…the Midgard Serpent. It may be that this particular force-field in Norway was an important element in

Paulo’s initiation, and may also be why there is renewed interest in the ancient pilgrimage route across the Nordic countries to the old capital of Norway, Nidaros, modern-day Trondheim. Paulo receives yearly invitations to be a special guest at the St Olaf festival in Trondheim, because of his connection with the Road to Santiago. Over many years of working with Paulo, I have met countless people who have walked that Road, all inspired by The Pilgrimage. For Agneta Sjödin, a much-loved TV presenter in Sweden, the journey had profound personal consequences, and some years later, she wrote an acclaimed novel, published by Bazar, about just that. When I took over publishing Paulo in Sweden in 2002, she went to meet Paulo in Tarbes, and the result was a wonderful TV portrait. In 2006, I had the pleasure of putting Paulo in touch with the Norwegian journalist Monica Øien, and together they spent three days walking the Road to Santiago, and out of that experience came a documentary which has now been broadcast all over the world. And my cousin’s wife and her colleagues, a group of nurses from hospitals in Oslo, were so inspired that they walked the Road together. Once, in Oslo, Paulo was trying to explain to a journalist that life is not as complicated as we tend to make it. It was winter and it was snowing, and he said: “Look, the snow doesn’t fall in lots of different colours, it’s always white.” I thought that was an excellent image for the wisdom to be found in The Pilgrimage. Life is complicated, of course, but if we can see beyond the complexity and simplify it, we can perhaps find a structure that is meaningful to us. To me, The Pilgrimage has been a confirmation of the magic I have always looked for. Thank you, Paulo!

In April 1988, I belonged to a theatre group in Rio de Janeiro, and our director, Raul de Orofino, kept urging us all to read The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. The book had been published by a small publishing house, Eco, and had only limited distribution, but it had already sparked lively discussions among those of my colleagues who had read it. I duly borrowed a copy, started to read it, but didn’t manage to finish it. Then, in November of that same year, I woke one night at midnight and read the final pages. I was filled with deep emotion, as if I myself had walked the Road to Santiago. After that, I couldn’t stop talking about the book and recommended it to everyone I met, even reading passages out to fellow students on my course at university. At the time, I was in my second year of a Chemical Engineering degree and was spending most of my days in the library, preparing for my end-of-year exams. However, after that November night, I went straight to the theatre where the group was due to appear, simply to tell them that I had finally finished The Pilgrimage, but wouldn’t be able to stay for the performance. Then the director told me that Paulo Coelho was there with a group of friends. I didn’t know anything about Paulo or even which city he lived in, so I sat near the back and observed him. When the play ended, Paulo noticed that I was staring at him and asked me why. I produced that borrowed copy of The Pilgrimage from my bag. He was genuinely touched and asked me to join him and his friends. A few days later, I was invited to his wife Christina’s fortieth birthday party and we became good friends. In Rio, I helped to promote The Pilgrimage along with my boyfriend, Carlos Eduardo, also a member of the theatre group and a great fan of the

book. In May 1989, we decided to move to Europe, and Carlos Eduardo was offered a traineeship in Barcelona at a branch of the pharmaceutical company he was working for in Brazil. When I told Paulo about our decision, he immediately suggested I become his literary agent. This seemed a great idea, given that The Pilgrimage is set in Spain and so ought to appeal to Spanish publishers. Obviously, I had no idea what being a literary agent involved, but I was really pleased to have a goal for the new jourBRAZIL ney I was embarking on. The Madrid Book Fair was just beginning when we arrived, and we went to every stand, collecting catalogues. In Barcelona, I visited a few publishers in person, and Editora Martínez Roca, which was bought by Planeta some years later, decided to publish The Pilgrimage. When I think of it now, the negotiations didn’t take long at all, just forty days. In that same year of 1989, Brazilian sales of The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage really began to take off, and both books topped best-seller lists around the country. And Paulo’s books remained at the top of those lists for five consecutive years, with each new book joining the older ones. The Paulo Coelho phenomenon was a very real one, generated by readers like me, eager to share their enthusiasm for his books with other people. I would like to thank Paulo from the bottom of my heart for his boundless confidence in me, because even though we didn’t really know what we were doing, the Road gradually revealed itself to us and we learned and grew together. My journey in 1989 is a metaphor for my own Road to Santiago.

Mônica Antunes Literary Agent Sant Jordi Asociados


The Pilgrimage




Acácio and Orietta Hospitaleros [volunteer hosts] at a pilgrims’ hostal on the Road to Santiago

The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

Twenty-five years after the publication of The Pilgrimage, it seems like a dream to be writing today to Paulo Coelho himself to thank him for what he did and for transforming our lives. Here where we live in a Refuge for Pilgrims sponsored by our friend Paulo Coelho, it seems positively surreal and yet it is real. We walked the Road to Santiago and have chosen to live here. Everything is as magical as the book that so many of those with whom we share this place mention either verbally or in the visitor’s book. Many feet have trodden this sacred Road, but Paulo left his mark in the hearts of all those who walk it. In the name of all the pilgrims, we would like to say thank you for giving us this precious tool that helped us to reach our Goal in Life. Ultreia, suseia, Paulo Coelho.

Documentaries Auf dem Jakobsweg/On the Road to Santiago 2000, ZDF, GERMANY

A documentary recorded along the Road to Santiago in which Paulo Coelho remembers his experience walking this ancient pilgrim’s route in 1986.

The Alchemist of Words 2001, DISCOVERY NETWORKS

First official biography of Paulo Coelho recorded in several locations, including Santiago de Compostela, Iran, Rio de Janeiro and Colombia.

Pilgrimage of the soul. The Santiago Road and The Kumano Road 2001, AICHI TELEVISION BROADCASTING, JAPAN

A documentary about sacred pilgrimages recorded through the Kumano Road in Japan and from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela.

Paulo Coelho. Un peregrino en busca de un sueño / Paulo Coelho. A pilgrim in search of a dream 2004, POLO DE IMAGEM, EDITORIAL PLANETA (SPAIN) AND BOMPIANI (ITALY)

Along the Road to Santiago, Paulo Coelho tells in first person about his life and the experiences that led him to embark upon this journey -starting in SaintJean-Pied-de-Port and finishing in Santiago de Compostela - and explains the effect it has had on his life and work.

Paulo Coelho on the Road to Santiago de Compostela 2006, TV INTER AS, NORWAY

Paulo Coelho invited Norwegian TV to join him on his journey along the route from France to Santiago de Compostela, which has long been a source of inspiration for him.


The Pilgrimage




Paulo Coelho


Tw e n t y years later On that afternoon in Leon in the far-off year of 1986, I still do not know that in six or seven years’ time I will write a book on this experience of mine, which is already in my soul - the shepherd Santiago in quest of a treasure that a woman called Veronika had prepared to swallow some pills and try to commit suicide, and that Pilar will stand on the banks of the river Piedra and write her diary in tears.

All I know at this very moment is that I am tense, nervous, incapable of talking with Petrus because I have just realized that I can no longer go on doing what I have been doing – even if this means giving up a reasonable amount of money at the end of the month, a certain emotional stability, a job that I know well and some techniques that I master. I need to change, follow in the direction of my dream, a dream that seems to me childish, ridiculous and impossible to make come true: to become the writer that I have secretly always wanted to be, but have never had the courage to admit. Petrus finishes his coffee and mineral water, asks me to get the check and for us to start walking again, because there are still some kilometres to the next town. People go on passing by and talking, looking out of the corner of their eye at these two middle-aged pilgrims, wondering about the strange people in this world who are always ready to try and relive a past that is already dead (*). The temperature must be around 27o C because it is late afternoon and for the thousandth time I ask myself whether I have made the wrong decision. Did I want to change? I don’t think so, but after all, this road is changing me. Did I want to know the mysteries? I think so, but the road is teaching me that there are no mysteries, that – as Jesus Christ said – nothing is hidden that has not been revealed. In other words, everything is happening in exactly the opposite way from what I expected. We rose and started to walk in silence. I am engrossed in my thoughts, in my insecurity, and I imagine Petrus must be thinking about his job in Milan. He is here because somehow he was obliged by Tradition, but perhaps he hopes that the walk will soon come to an end so that he can get back to doing what he likes.

© Martín Rendo

All I know is that I am on this absurd and monotonous walk. There is no fax, no cellular phone, the shelters are few and far between, my guide seems irritated the whole time, and I have no way of knowing what is going on in Brazil.

(*) in the year I made the pilgrimage, only 400 people had taken the Road to Santiago. In 2005, according to nonofficial statistics, 400 people passed every day in front of the bar mentioned in the text.

The Pilgrimage

We walk for almost all of what remains of the afternoon without talking. We are isolated in our forced companionship. Santiago de Compostela lies ahead and I cannot imagine that this road leads me not only to this city, but also to many other cities in the world. Neither I nor Petrus know that this afternoon on the plain of Leon I am also walking to Milan, his city, which I shall reach almost ten years from now, with a book called The Alchemist. I am walking towards my destiny, dreamed of so many times and so many times denied. In a few days I shall arrive at exactly the place where today, twenty years down the track, I write these lines. I am walking in the direction of what I always wanted, and I have neither faith nor hope that my life will be changed. Yet I push ahead. In some distant future, in one of the bars which I shall pass by a few days from now, my wife is already sitting reading a book, and there am I, writing this text on a computer that in a few minutes will send it by Internet to the newspaper where it will be published. I am walking towards that future – on this August afternoon in 1986.


The Pilgrimage




The Pilgrimage PAULO COELHO

The Golden Medal Of Galicia

Paulo Coelho Street

In July 1999, Paulo Coelho was the first intellectual to be awarded the Gold Medal of Galicia by the Spanish State Council in recognition of his remarkable literary career. The president of Galicia at that time, Manuel Fraga, spoke of Paulo Coelho as one of the most important writers in Latin America, and praised him for his major contribution to the growing interest in the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

© Martín Rendo

‘The truth is, I should be the one giving an award to the Road to Santiago,’ said Paulo Coelho when he heard the news, ‘because the road completely transformed my life. All the time I was following the road, I was thinking that it was high time I fulfilled my dream of becoming a writer. In the small village of Cebreiro, I finally realized that I was engaged in a battle for my personal legend because I was scared to face possible failure. I promised myself then that from that day on I would give up everything I was doing and fight for my dreams.’

In June 2008, in gratitude for Paulo Coelho’s work in popularising and promoting Santiago de Compostela and the Road to Santiago, the city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain named one of the roads coming into the city – a continuation of the Camino Francés [the French Way] – after him.

140 million copies sold worldwide, published in 73 languages in more than 168 countries

Second most influential celebrity on Twitter in 2010 according to Forbes

10 million copies of The Pilgrimage sold worldwide, published in 38 languages

Shooting of biopic on Paulo Coelho’s life in 2012 to be premiered in 2013

22 books published: 13 novels; 5 short stories; 2 adaptations; 1 anthology; 1 book of fables 750 editions of Paulo Coelho’s works

60 theatre adaptations of Paulo Coelho’s works

Newspaper columns syndicated in 190 media in 65 countries

110 international prizes and awards

2009 Guinness World Record for the most translated author for the same book (The Alchemist, 67 languages)

Stationery line now present in 19 countries: 9 diaries; 2 quotation books; 1 journal Writer with the highest number of social media followers

© Marcos Borges

Paulo Coelho Facts & Figures

2004 Guinness World Record for the most translations (53) of a single title (The Alchemist) signed in one sitting (45 min.)

Member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2002 United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2007 Paulo Coelho Institute founded in 1996; at present it supports 430 underprivileged Brazilian children Speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos since 1998 Board Member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship since 2001 2012 brand ambassador for Relais & Châteaux 2012 official international ambassador for Montegrappa

The Alchemist (1988)





The Pilgrimage The Accra Manuscript c s pau lo

o’s b ook





pa ul



By the River Piedra I Sat Down


s pau

The Valkyries





The Fifth Mountain





Manual of the Warrior of Light



The Devil and Miss Prym

oe oc l(2008) u pa


o ’s b

(2000) (2006)


The Witch of Portobello

Eleven Minutes (2006)

aulo coe (2005)

The Th Zahir Z hi


The Winner Stands Alone


Veronika decides to die


Like The Flowing River

A Aleph


Paulo Coelho The Pilgrimage

Contact Passeig Garcia i Faria, 73-75, Torre A, 7º 5º • 08019 Barcelona, Spain Phone +34 93 224 01 07 • Fax + 34 93 356 26 96 •

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