Paulo Coelho – Manuscript Found in Accra – spreecast

An afternoon in Guildford, I had expected to be home late afternoon, but did not arrive home until early evening.

I arrived home to a live webcast with Paulo Coelho talking on-line to readers via a video link. Anyone could join in, so long as they had a computer with camera and microphone. I caught the tail end, maybe the last ten minutes of what was just over an hour.

What was interesting, was what I caught, was lovely examples of synchronicity.

I had been in conversation the night before with lovely storyteller Steph Bradley and suggested she read The Winner Stands Alone.

Paulo Coelho said readers hate this book. I cannot see why. Well actually I can see why, it is not The Alchemist, and people like their authors to write the same book. As Paulo said, he does not write for his readers, he writes for himself, it is what he wants to say.

People like fairy tales. The basic premise of Dark Mountain, is that people live in a fairy tale, they do not face up to the stark reality of the world around them. The Winner Stands Alone, is a crime novel, but it is more than a crime novel or a thriller, it is a damning indictment of our society, our obsession with stuff.

Paulo Coelho then went on to say how he became a writer, it was not until he was 40. He had always dreamed of being a writer, but he was a successful songwriter, he kept putting it off. Finally, he could put it off no longer. He walked El Camino de Santiago, then he wrote The Pilgrimage, then he wrote The Alchemist.

In my conversation with Steph Bradley, I told her of how Paulo Coelho did not start writing until he was around 40, that before he was a successful song writer and record producer, that he walked El Camino de Santiago, that contrary to popular misconception, his first book was not The Alchemist, it was The Pilgrimage, his account of walking El Camino de Santiago. When you undertake this pilgrimage you give something back, his gift was The Alchemist.

Steph Bradley is a storyteller, writer and poet. She had a dream, and like Santiago in The Alchemist, she had the courage to take the risk and follow her dream. She gave up the job she loved and spent six months shod in only a pair of red flip flops from Brazil and wearing what she could carry on her back, walking from town to village, telling stories, collecting stories. These she then collected together in Tales of Our Times. She is now working on a paperback, based on her walk, but set in the future, and on an anthology of her poetry, Searching for Love. Both to be published in the spring. She then hopes to go on another tour, telling her tales.

Steph spent time in Brazil, she learnt Portuguese, the first book she read in Portuguese, The Alchemist. Her inspiration for following her dreams, Paulo Coelho.

Manuscript Found in Accra, the latest book from Paulo Coelho, now out in paperback, is on special offer in WHSmith in the UK.

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