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 SAN FRANCISCO, July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Paulo Coelho, the best- selling author from Brazil who is rivaling Gabriel Garcia Marquez as Latin America's best-selling writer, has succeeded in charming the hearts of many across the world with "The Alchemist" -- the story of a young man who follows his dreams and discovers the treasure of life. The book has sold phenomenally in his native country -- over a million and a half copies to become a permanent fixture on Brazil's bestseller lists. On July 15 it celebrated four uninterrupted years on O Globo's bestseller list -- Brazil's equivalent of the New York Times.
 A bestseller in Spain and Portugal, this endearing story has also been published in Mexico, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Korea. And in June, just a week after its official U.S. publication, the book demonstrated early evidence of what is expected to be a stellar U.S. reception when it hit The Chicago Tribune's hardcover fiction bestseller list.
 Coelho recently attended the American Booksellers Association Annual Convention in Miami where he said, "It has been a thrilling experience to be published in America. The reception to me and my book has been so far beyond my wildest expectations. I have talked with so many booksellers and readers who have already discovered the book and were touched by its message."
 "The Alchemist" has been compared by many to some of this century's greatest classical fables, such as "The Little Prince" and "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." It is the magical story of Santiago, a shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain his journey takes him to the markets of Tangier and across the desert of Egypt, to a fateful encounter with "the alchemist." The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few other stories have, about listening to our hearts, reading the omens life is strewn with and, above all, following our dreams.
 Joe Durepos, general manager of Anderson's Bookshop in Downer's Grove, Ill., said it is "the simplest statement in story form of the universal mystery of personal destiny that I have come across in a long, long time. I've given this book to a dozen people and the response has been a delight. My staff is suggesting this book in much the same way we suggested 'The Bridges of Madison County' -- quietly and enthusiastically over and over again."
 Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Coelho began a successful career composing music lyrics in the 1970s. One of Brazil's most popular singers, Raul Seixas, recorded versions of his songs that were major successes and are still popular today. Not quite content with the music recording business, Coelho began studying with an ancient Spanish society in 1981. As part of his initiation into the order, Coelho was required to walk across the 830-kilometer "Road to Santiago," the ancient Spanish road of the pilgrims. His first book recounts this journey in "The Diary of a Magus," also a Brazilian bestseller. He has written five books in all, four of which have simultaneously enjoyed spots on Brazil's O Globo bestseller list. Coelho is now in the Brazilian "Guiness Book of Records" for being the first author to attain such fame.
 Coelho is optimistic about the future in store for him. "When my books were first published in Brazil, I was unknown there but I dared to believe in myself and my books -- especially 'The Alchemist.' I knew I had a treasure to find here." By all accounts he's well on his way to finding the same riches in the United States that he's already found in Brazil.
 Matthew Lore, marketing manager at HarperSanFrancisco (publisher of "The Alchemist") said, "Paulo's a knockout of a promoter; his remarkable charm and warm spirit have moved everyone who has come into his orbit. Everyday we hear a new story about readers finding 'The Alchemist,' falling in love with it and wanting to know something about this author. I know that when he comes to the U.S. in September and October for his booktour -- he will lecture and visit bookstores across the country -- he's going to be a huge success."
 -0- 7/20/93
 /CONTACT: Jo Beaton of HarperSanFrancisco, 415-477-4523/

CO: HarperSanFrancisco ST: California IN: PUB SU: PDT

GT-TM -- SFFNS01 -- 6681 07/20/93 10:21 EDT
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Date:Jul 20, 1993

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