Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century and one of the best in the Spanish language. Widely credited with introducing the global public to magical realism, he had secured both significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success.

Gabriel Marquez Early Life

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born on 6 March 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia, to Gabriel Eligio García and Luisa Santiaga Marquez Iguaran.
  • He was raised by his maternal grandparents for eight years. Several of his superstitious aunts lived with him, and later, he credited much of his storytelling style – telling fantasy stories as if they were the implacable truth, to his grandmother.
  • In December 1936, his father took him and his brother to Since. While in March 1937, his grandfather died; the family then moved first (back) to Barranquilla and then on to Sucre, where his father started up a pharmacy.
  • He spent his first years of high school, from 1940, in the Colegio jesuita San Jose (today Instituto San Jose) where he published his first poems in the school magazine Juventud.
  • After his graduation in 1947, Garcia Marquez stayed in Bogotá to study law at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, but spent most of his spare time reading fiction.

Gabriel Marquez Career

  • However, three years later, Garcia Marquez abandoned the law for journalism at the University of Cartagena.
  • He published His fifteen stories in the newspaper El Espectador between 1950–1955. During this period, he began to admire modernists such as Woolf, Joyce, and Faulkner.
Gabriel Marquez
Gabriel Marquez
  • In Faulkner’s mythical Yoknaputawpha, Garcia Marquez found the seeds for Macondo. He began to grow dissatisfied with his earlier stories, believing them to be too abstracted.
  • Upon graduation, Garcia Marquez returned to Bogot as a reporter for El Espectador. His first novel, Leaf Storm was published in 1955.
  • In the same year, he travelled to Europe as correspondent for El Espectador, and finally settled in Paris where he found that he was out of job.

Gabriel Marquez Writing Career

  • After a brief stay in London, Garcia Marquez returned to Caracas to work as a journalist in 1957. In 1958, he published his novel No One Writes to the Colonel in 1958.
  • He knew his ultimate work would take place in the mythical town of Macondo, the name of a banana plantation near Aracataca, yet he still had to find the right tone for his tale.
  • García Marquez met Mercedes Barcha while she was at school; they decided to wait for her to finish before getting married. The following year, their first son, Rodrigo Garcia, now a television and film director, was born. Three years later the couple’s second son, Gonzalo, was born in Mexico.
  • From 1959–1961, he worked for the Cuban news agency La Prensa in Cuba and New York. Afterwards, he resided in Mexico and worked as a screen writer, journalist, and publicist.
  • He published The Evil Hour and Big Mama’s Funeral in 1962, however, none of his works had sold over 700 copies. On January 1965, an inspiration suddenly arose in his mind. He had found his tone — a natural tone expressed with an “unperturbed face”.
  • After eighteen months of seclusion, he published his masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude in June 1967.
  • Within a week, he sold 5,000 copies, and half a million copies in 3 years. Success had come at last: the novel won the Chianchiano Prize in Italy, and Best Foreign Book in France in 1969.
  • In 1970, he published the book in English. Time magazine choose this book as one of the best twelve books of the year. Two years later, Garcia Marquez was awarded the Romulo Gallegos Prize and the Neustadt Prize.

Gabriel Marquez Political Activism

  • In 1973, after the assassination of the president of Chile, he decided to take a more active political role.
  • Due to his newfound fame and his outspoken views on U.S. imperialism, government labeled Garcia Marquez as a subversive.  US immigration authorities denied visa for many years.
  • In 1974, he founded Alternativa in Bogota and participated in the Russell Tribunal to publicise human rights abuses in Latin America. A year later, he published Autumn of the Patriarch, a novel of an archetypical South American tyrant.
  • In 1981, Garcia Marquez received the French Legion of Honour medal. Later that year he published Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
  • Later Colombian military accused him of conspiring with the M-19 guerrillas, and he seeked asylum in Mexico. Colombia soon regretted its decision as Noble committee awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 .
  • By 1986, his other famous novel, Love in the Time of Cholera was born, which suggested undoubtly the universal appeal of Garcia Marquez as a writer.
  • He published his other remarkable novels— The General in his Labyrinth, Strange Pilgrims, and Love and Other Demons respectively in 1989, 1992, and 1994.
  • By now one of the most world-known writers, he eased into a lifestyle of writing, teaching and political activism in Mexico City.

Gabriel Marquez Last Novel and Death

  • In 2002, Garcia Marquez published the memoir, Vivir para contarla, the first of a projected three-volume autobiography. The book was a bestseller in the Spanish-speaking world.
  • In May 2008, he finished his final yet to be titled novel, “novel of love”.
  • Garcia Marquez died of pneumonia at the age of 87 on 17 April 2014 in Mexico City. His family cremated Garcia Marquez at a private family ceremony in Mexico City.
  • On 22 April, the presidents of Colombia and Mexico attended a formal ceremony in Mexico City, where García Márquez had lived for more than three decades.

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