Interview: Metro UK

What’s Aleph about?
My experience on the Trans-Siberian Railway. I was thinking: ‘I’m already a very successful author, I don’t need to do anything,’ and was feeling something was wrong. I travelled for three months. I started in London in 2006 and ended up in Vladivostok – just to get in contact with my soul.

Did you learn anything about yourself?
You’re always learning. The problem is, sometimes you stop and think you understand the world. This is not correct. The world is always moving. You never reach the point you can stop making an effort.

Were there any revelations along the way?
Of course. Just from meeting people – a taxi driver, for example – or finding a book. I’m open to life and during this period I was open to new experiences. When you don’t follow the rule your parents impose – ‘don’t talk to strangers’ – you learn.

People seem to experience spiritual revelations in exotic locations – can you have one on the way to work?
Of course. I don’t take the Trans-Siberian every day but I try to give every day the opportunity for these experiences. If you’re open to people on your way to work, it can happen. Or you can choose to be totally inwards and think only of yourself. You have to live in the moment.

What do your readers expect from your books?
I don’t know. I never write books with this question in mind. I only write to understand myself better. I talk to my readers on social networking sites but I never tell them what the book is about. Writing is lonely, so from time to time I talk to them on the internet. It’s like chatting at a bar without leaving your office. I talk with them about a lot of things other than my books.

Do you have any writing habits?

It’s as Lewis Carroll said: start at the beginning, go to the end, then stop. That’s how I write. I write quickly. I don’t try to show how intelligent or how cultivated I am, I just try to share my soul. Sharing is part of life.

Read more: 60 Seconds with Coelho


  1. Marie-Christine says:

    rev e lation
    le reve est l’action
    oui, parce qu’il est toujours en mouvement
    comme le mot.

    avec amour

  2. revanth babu says:

    sir ,
    you r my favourite author and also a guide
    i have one wish in my life, that is to meet you and talk for 5 min
    my friends say ur writing is very complicated and hard to understand
    in my dreams it will appear like talking with u
    my sincere request to you is to write a book about a teenage since my age is 14

    im not able to express my thoughts in a perfect way with u
    so please reply me sir
    i would be glad to see that

    and for my satisfaction i read 5 of ur books

  3. Paula says:

    I have just finished reading “Aleph” yesterday evening. My one wish is that I can meet you one day and shake your hand. And give your wife a hug; for being the kind of woman who gives her husband the freedom to do what is necessary, even if it means that he has to be away from her for long periods. We are so blessed to have you share your life journey with us, and helping us thus on our own journey as well. It is always an inspiration to read your words. Thank you for sharing with us.

  4. cristina cabral says:

    Falou e disse; isto é Paulo Coelho

  5. Levi Michael says:

    Hello Paolo Coelho !

    I started reading your book aleph – and I so that you had kind of deppression
    that you do not know what to do next ,and I thought I could help you ,I study
    kabbalah for 11 years now , and I understand a little bit in it ,of course I wrote
    a lot about kabbalah , but the most important thing is to have the intention
    for bestowal to people and to God ,what you do is simply intent for good
    of the people and in good of God and that is the way to accept the light of
    God ,of course by the praying you should open your crown chakra, and by
    this way you are giving a way to the light to enter into you into the whole body from the crown.If you intent for good of people and God you will
    be the most happy person in the world !All you have to do is to intent and
    then to do what you are intent to !And God will fullfill you with his light
    that is His job! That is the peceipt for never ending happiness!

  6. Marie-Christine says:

    My magic moment of the day.
    I went out this afternoon and on the way I passed an elderly lady dressed up to the nine – a beautiful suit a knitted skirt and a jacket in a dark beige color she was wearing some black shoes and thick tights. – I said ‘hello’ to her as I went pass.
    On the way back, she was sitting in a garage having a chat with a friend,
    That really touched me.
    I guess it was so unexpected and yes it was some sort of ‘ an exotic location.’
    with love

  7. King size mattress says:

    It seems to be necessary. What this says about the people? About our society? At this point begins to society. What we teach our children. Some of the answers I have found for myself, I do not like. But that’s our kind of society. We can not change it, or we want not to change it. I do not know.
    What I know, I’ve said it often, I’m glad, that there are people like you exist. The people which share their thoughts and feelings, their experiences, with others. For this many people love you. So do I. I’

    1. Heimo Kruschinski says:

      Thank you very much!!! Much love to you!

      I wish you all a wonderful day

  8. Hyacinth says:

    My son told me off when he was 4 years old. He asked me if I knew the woman I was talking to in the supermarket. I told him that I didn’t and he said to me “papa says don’t talk to strangers” my husband was brought up that way, but I was brought up inKenya to talk to everyone you met. We came up with a solution, “talk to anyone you like, just don’t go anywhere with them without parents knowing” turned out great for our son who can’t keep his mouth shut. He will turn 12 this year. He is just so curious in general.

  9. Susana says:

    Dear Paulo,

    If you were interviewing a highly respected, international author…what questions would you ask? I mean, in addition to the questions about her latest book?

    Incidentally ,enjoyed reading “The confessions of a pilgrim” by Juan Aris (apologies if that is not the right spelling!) was such a warm and interesting look into your life and writing.

    all the best,

  10. Heimo Kruschinski says:

    I’ve been thinking a bit. It’s about this saying. “Do not talk to strangers.” I said that my daughter too. She was very young at this time. It is perhaps one of the first things you teach your child. Aside from politeness. Say “Please”, say “thank you”. As far as I would say that it is correct. One must also exemplify it. If I did not even do, then my child, probably have concusions from it. The one with the stranger is a very interesting thing, in my opinion. It keeps us clear up a mirror in the face. Why do we teach our children this? It seems to be necessary. What this says about the people? About our society? At this point begins to society. What we teach our children. Some of the answers I have found for myself, I do not like. But that’s our kind of society. We can not change it, or we want not to change it. I do not know.
    What I know, I’ve said it often, I’m glad, that there are people like you exist. The people which share their thoughts and feelings, their experiences, with others. For this many people love you. So do I. I’m not always agree with you. Why should I? It’s boring. This is a matter of respect. Even though I sometimes certainly very “cheeky”, I have a huge respect for you. I think that’s right. More than that. I have sometimes asked me a question. What would be if you had not become so successful? I do not know if such a thing as “luck” really exists. But to a career like yours belongs certainly a little “luck”. You are by the standards of our society, completely crazy. This is tolerated. You have money. You have power. Money is power. I am not criticizing that you have money. You have earned your money honestly. This is certainly not true for everyone in this world. What if you did not have the money? You were an outsider, probably on the fringes of society. And you probably would not give a damn on it. You would still live your life. So I think about you. I do not know if I’m wrong or not. I do not know you. But that’s my opinion. And for that I love you. Thanks for the community that you have created. And yet I hope a lot of books to read from you. Have fun, and much love to you.

    I wish you all a wonderful day

  11. Marie-Christine says:

    En francais
    Interview : Metro U.K,
    Paulo Coelho ; Franchement je ne sais pas la raison pour laquelle ‘l’Alchimiste” a obtenu autant de succes.’
    L’auteur Paulo Coelho parle avec Metro sur le succes de son roman ‘L’Alchimiste”. d’etre la deuxieme personne qui a le plus d’influence apres Justin Bieber et de son nouveau livre ‘Aleph’.

    ‘Aleph’, de quoi s’agit-il?
    Mon experience sur le train le ‘Trans Siberien’. Je pensais que j’etais deja un auteur tres repute. Je n’avais pas besoin de faire autre chose. et je ressentais que quelque chose n’allait pas. J’ai voyage pendant trois mois. J’ai commence a Londres et suis arrive a Vladivostok – juste pour rentrer en relation avec mon ame –

    Avez-vous appris quelque chose sur vous?
    On apprend tout le temps. Le probleme est que, parfois, on a l’impression de comprendre le monde. – c’est une erreur – le monde est toujours en mouvement. Vous n’arrivez jamais au moment ou vous devez vous arretez de faire un effort.,

    Y-a-t’il eu des revelations en route?
    Bien sur – le fait de rencontrer des gens – un chauffeur de taxi par exemple- ou trouver un livre. Je suis ouvert a la vie et durant cette periode, j’etais ouvert a de nouvelles experiences. Lorsque vous vous arretez de suivre les regles que vos parents vous imposent ;”Ne parles pas avec les etrangers’ – vous apprenez –

    Les gens semblent tirer un enseignement spirituel dans des lieux exotiques – pouvez-vous en recevoir un en allant au travail?
    Evidemment – Je ne prends pas le Trans Siberien tous les jours mais j’essaie d’avoir l’occasion de faire ces experiences chaque jour. Si vous etes accessible aux autres – cela peut arriver en vous rendant au travail – Ou bien vous choisissez de vous replier sur vous -meme – Vous devez vivre le moment.

    Qu’attendent vos lecteurs de vos livres?
    Je ne le sais pas – je n’ecris jamais avec cette question en tete – J’ecris seulement pour mieux me comprendre. Je parle avec mes lecteurs sur les reseaux Internet – mais je ne leur parle jamais en ce qui concerne le livre – Ecrire est solitaire , alors de temps en temps, je parle avec eux sur l’Internet. C’est comme si vous discutiez dans un bar sans quitter votre bureau. On parle de tout sauf de mes livres.

    Quelles sont vos habitudes lorsque vous ecrivez?
    C’est, comme le disait lewis Carrol : Commencer par le debut, aller a la fin et s’arreter. J’ecris comme cela. Je n’essaie pas de montrer a quel point je suis intelligent ou cultive. J’essaie seulement de partager mon ame – Partager fait partie de la vie –

    Vous etes venu a l’ecriture tard dans la vie, comment se fait-il que vous ayez mis si longtemps?
    Je voulais ecrire lorsque j’etais jeune. Mais les gens m’ont dit que c’etait impossible. Puis mes parents m’ont interne dans un hopital psychiatrique – ils disaient que j’etais fou et que je pourrais pas gagner ma vie en faisant ce metier . J’ai appris que l’on a besoin de traverser des ponts et d’en detruire d’autres. Je n’allais jamais etre a la hauteur de leurs reves – devenir un ingenieur – Mon point tournant a ete le pelerinage, en 1986 a Saint Jacques de Compostelle en Espagne, J’avais 40 ans et revais de devenir ecrivain, Je l’ai reporte a plus tard. J’ai marche pendant 56 jours puis je me suis dit ;” Il te faut commencer a ecrire a present ‘. Le succes n’est pas arrive du jour au lendemain. Cela a pris des annees pour que mes livres soient traduits – et ‘L’Alchimiste’ avait ete rejete par les maisons d’edition. Vous avez besoin de vous battre pour ce en quoi vous croyez.

    Pourquoi ‘L’Alchimiste’ a ete aussi populaire?
    C’est la question a 1,000.000 de dollars. Je ne le sais vraiment pas. C”est une metaphore sur ma vie personnelle et en l’ecrivant elle a touche un point sensible chez les autres. C’est le livre qui a ete le plus traduit par un auteur vivant. Je n’aurais jamais pense qu’il serait autant lu,
    Je ne sais pas pourquoi – et je n’ai pas envie de le savoir – cela mettrait fin a la magie.

    On dit que vous etes la deuxieme personne la plus influente sur Twitter apres Justin Bieber – etes -vous tente d’utiliser votre pouvoir pour de mauvaises intentions ?
    Tout le monde est responsable de ce qu’il/elle ecrit. Vous pouvez avoir des trolls destructeurs – mais , si vous etes convaincu de ce que vous faites, vous n’allez pas vous soucier de ce qu’ils disent . C’est tres important pour un ecrivain.,

    Est-ce que les gens envoient des Tweets qui offensent?
    Je n’ai pas beaucoup de trolls. Lorsque vous ecrivez un article sur quelque chose, les trolls utilisent les commentaires pour attaquer. – Ils sont frustres –
    mais – les ennemis sont perdants – ca ne sert a rien d’alimenter cet aspect. C’est plus intelligent d’etre constructif.

    Est-ce que vous lisez les critiques?
    Je les lis et je les garde. J’ai plus de 40 gb de critiques – bonnes et mauvaises – Cela ne me derange pas de lire une mauvaise critique – sinon je me serais arrete d’ecrire depuis 15 ans. Les eloges ou les critiques ne durent que 3 ou 4 jours.

    Quelle est la raison pour les garder?
    Eventuellement, apres ma mort, les gens continueront a lire mes livres et peut etre, quelqu’un tot ou tard, voudra ecrire sur mon travail; alors ils auront besoin de lire ce que j’ai connu – ce n’est pas tout rose –

    Quelle a ete votre plus folle depense?
    Quand j’etais hippie, j’avais depense tout mon argent sur un billet d’avion pour l’Europe.
    J’ai achete un avion en 2006 et j’ai voyage comme un fou toute cette annee, rien que pour en profiter.
    Recemment, j’ai mis une halte au voyage – mais j’ai toujours l’avion – au cas ou –

    ‘L’Alchimiste’ est un des 25 titres qui fait partie de la ‘Nuit Mondiale du Livre’ ce lundi,.

    1. Paulo Coelho says:

      THANK YOU, I made a post with the French translation in Aleph Franí§ais (category)

    2. Marie-Christine says:

      Dear Paulo,
      Thank you so much,
      I appreciate it a lot.
      With love

    3. Marie-Christine Grimard says:

      Oui, merci Marie-Christine, mon amie, pour tous les francophones qui ont parfois du mal í  tout lire, les jours de fatigue …
      Et Merci Paulo pour le partage de votre manière de travailler avec nous, et surtout de votre manière d’exister et de penser, pour éclairer notre route .
      M christine Grimard

    4. Marie-Christine says:

      Merci Marie-Christine –
      Je suis fiere de participer a ce partage..
      Je le fais avec plaisir et j’essaie de faire de mon mieux,
      Avec amour et reconnaissance et tous mes remerciements a toi Paulo pour l’occasion.


  12. Shariel says:

    I love writing and i love artist. Many writers and movie makers helped me understood my life better. Better than a mirros, or made the mirror more clear.

    I share the same passion, writing, and feel the same about writing.

    its lonely but i love it!

  13. Sonia says:

    Hey !
    First of all I love your name *Paulo Coelho* its Classy. Hats off Man !!!! Bravo ! I wish to get a chance to speak with you once in my life… May Allah Bless you. Ameen !
    Take Care! stay Happy & Healthy!

  14. toñi says:

    Lo mejor de las experiencias espirituales es volver a casa.
    Creo que está bien esto que dices de que escribes para aprender a comprenderte mejor a ti mismo. Bueno lo he leido en inglés, igual lo he traducido al revés dentro de mi cabeza.
    Estaré unos dí­as desconectada, feliz puente a todos.

  15. eleonora says:

    The world is always moving. You never reach the point you can stop making an effort.

    1. eleonora says:

      Proprio come il suo scrivere in continuo movimento <3

    2. walter says:

      I totally agree with you, eleonora, although I know some people who don’t even take up making some effot at all.

  16. Arto Hutto says:

    In Swedish:

    Intervju – Metro UK

    Vad handlar Alef om?
    Min erfarenhet på Transsibiriska järnvägen. Jag tänkte: “Jag är redan en mycket framgångsrik författare, jag behöver inte göra någonting” och kände att något var fel. Jag reste i tre månader. Jag började i London 2006 och hamnade i Vladivostok – bara för att komma i kontakt med min själ.

    Lärde du dig något om dig själv?
    Du lär dig alltid. Problemet är att du ibland stanna upp och tror att du förstår världen. Detta är inte korrekt. Världen är alltid i rörelse. Du når aldrig den punkt där du kan sluta göra en insats.

    Fanns det några avslöjanden på vägen?
    Givetvis. Bara genom att träffa människor – en taxichaufför, till exempel – eller att hitta en bok. Jag är öppen för livet och under denna period var jag öppen för nya upplevelser. När du inte följer regeln dina föräldrar lärde dig – “att inte prata med främlingar” – så lär du dig.

    Folk verkar uppleva andliga uppenbarelser på exotiska platser – kan du ha en på väg till jobbet?
    Absolut. Jag tar inte Trans-Sibiriska varje dag men jag försöker att ge varje dag en möjlighet till dessa upplevelser. Om du är öppen för människor på väg till jobbet, kan det hända. Eller så kan du välja att vara helt inåtvänd och bara tänka på dig själv. Du måste leva i nuet.

    Vad förväntar sig dina läsare ur dina böcker?
    Jag vet inte. Jag skriver aldrig böcker med denna fråga i åtanke. Jag skriver bara för att förstå mig själv bättre. Jag pratar med mina läsare på sociala nätverk, men jag har aldrig berättat för dem vad boken handlar om. Att skriva är ensamt, så då och då jag pratar med dem på internet. Det är som att småprata på en bar utan att lämna kontoret. Jag pratar med dem om många andra saker än bara mina böcker.

    Har du några skrivarvanor?
    Det är som Lewis Carroll sa: börja från början, gå till slutet och stanna sedan. Så skriver jag. Jag skriver snabbt. Jag försöker inte visa hur intelligent eller hur kultiverad jag är, jag försöker bara dela med mig av min själ. Att dela med sig är en del av livet.

    I original postad här:
    Paulo Coelho på svenska:
    í–versättning: oLaVie, kommentera gärna

  17. Empié says:

    Que bien¡¡¡ Un alto en el camino, así­ que habrá que para un poco, dejar la mochila y contemplar un rato el paisaje mientras estiramos las piernas.

    Parece que queda poco, un último esfuerzo y se acabó, Santiago está detrás de esa colina.

    ¿Nos sentamos en ese bar a desayunar?, tiene buena pinta, vamos a disfrutar de este último tramo del camino, lo merecemos…

    Hasta pronto.

  18. Cristina B says:

    Hi Paulo if there’s something I appreciate of you is your Honesty.
    You showed it on this blog and also with your behaviour, many times.
    Thank you.

  19. Shine says:

    yes paulo its true what you just said,” The problem is, sometimes you stop and think you understand the world. This is not correct.”. When this thing happens, then God comes and pulls rugs from under your feet. (Brida), in oreder to foster further growth……… happens.
    Thank You.
    Love Avantika

  20. Lucas Neves says:

    É exatamente isso: escrever é compartilhar nossa alma. E ní£o importa se quem líª gostará ou ní£o… o que importa é essa busca e esse descobrimento de nós mesmos e o desabafo que fazemos. Ficamos mais leves í  medida em que compartilhamos nossa alma com um papel, que seja.

  21. vits says:

    Dear paulo,
    i have been actively reading your books since last one year and become your Fan during this time. Your books have changed my life , my thoughts , my approach towards life . These books have been turning point for me from a point where everything had gone worst for me, was totally disturbed badly confused to a point where i stand today quite changed , recovered n back to life . My life has been very uneven since last four or five years . I suffered from cancer , luckily survived as was detected in early stages , my wife , my parents my friends n my kids were the people who helped me to struggle n come out the situation. After everything was coming on right track i faced a big tragedy , i lost my beloved wife in an accident ie in the year 2010 . I was totally shattered . I was pointless …had no aim left in my life ….my parents my kids who are dependent on me also were the sufferers . It is this time i started reading your books .(already had gone through The alchemist,eleven minutes and The zaheer prior to my illness ).
    Fortunately i got The fifth mountain as the first book to read then was The winner stands alone , The witch of portobello, Veronica decides to die , The valkyliries , Aleph (i read these books in the serial mentioned ). My internal feeling after i went through these books was that you have been a God sent messenger to me , have given me a strong emotional support through your writings . All of your books are so lively and are so close to day to day situations in life that it seems that ” how come Paulo know about it , It has happened with me ? And i needed it ” . Messages from your books are highly inspiring and motivating . You have been providing a big Emotional support to your readers . Even your blog is also full of lively and elite bloggers who share there experiences with the Paulo’s ways of travelling through “Life a Journey”….Sir keep the good work going . We all admire your work a lot and are benefited by it in some or the other way…thanks …and may God bless you and us all with more of his “Sacred Messages” through your pen…..

  22. N.B. says:

    Cool interview.
    London as a starting point of a journey O
    Every city and place has its own beauty and special atmosphere where the mixture of people who live there fill it with their energy. If there is a color for it then London is for me definitely Blue. (wavelength – blueshift )

  23. Hello Paulo

    It is always a pleasure to read one of your interviews:)

    To the question; what do your readers expect form you? I, for one, do not have any expectations, it would spoil the mystery and the fun!

    It is like going to a different country, if someone will build expectations of that country and compare it to other places they have been, they will just completely miss out on everything that culture and people have to offer!

    I just look forward to everything you share with us:)