Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About... Gabriel Garcia Marquez

If someone has won a Nobel Prize, they’re probably worth listening to. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of the most beloved authors of the 20th century, has injected many pieces of wisdom into our society through his literary “hits” such as Love in the Time of Cholera and 100 Years of Solitude. Whether he is teaching us that “wisdom only comes to us when it can no longer do any good”, or that “humanity, like armies of the speed, advances at the speed of the slowest”, Marquez’s words always ring true: expressing a love for the Spanish and Latin American literary tradition together with fantastic storylines and supernatural phenomena. Genius aside, here are some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the acclaimed author.
Rosalind Turke


In 1950, after Marquez relocated to Baranquilla, he lived in a four-story brothel. It was nicknamed ‘The Skyscraper’ as at the time, this was enormous for the tiny town. His unsavoury surroundings and limited resources appeared to be a source of inspiration for the author, as there his literary life took root. Here he wrote his first novella, Leaf Storm.


Actually, not. It took Marquez seven years to find a publisher for his first novella, Leaf Storm, finally published in 1955. Maybe it’s because the whole story takes place in one room during a half-hour period.


Marquez was in fact not always a man of words: he started with pictures. Before he could read or write, he used to draw comics. This was, so he claims, how he started writing.


Marquez first encountered his wife Mercedes Barcha when she was just nine and still in college. They married seventeen years later, after Mercedes waited for him to return from Europe where he had been working as a foreign correspondent. Their first son, Rodrigo Garcia, is now a television and film director and their second, Gonzalo, is a graphic designer.


Garcia Marquez refused to allow 100 Years of Solitude to be made into a film. It is in fact his bestselling and most translated work but is probably one of those literary creations which best stand on their own. The novel is incredibly complex and woven with themes and symbolism such as magical realism, the fluidity of time, incest and solitude.


Marquez was brought up by his grandparents, who were both excellent storytellers: from his grandmother came folk tales and superstitions. The author remained very superstitious throughout his whole life and was said to never wear gold, even on a wedding band. He would also keep a yellow rose on his desk everyday while he was writing.

The death of this literary giant in 2014 left the world calling him the most significant Spanish-language author since Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. But giants never die, and as Marquez described himself: “no matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had.”