Gabriel García Márquez, a big icon of the Colombian Culture

Gabriel García Márquez is the most recognized Hispanic writer in the world and a big influence on the Colombian culture. In 1982 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature and is currently considered one of the great masters of universal literature. García Márquez was the fundamental figure of the so-called Boom of Latin American literature, promoting the international discovery of many novelists of the highest level barely known outside their respective countries.

García Márquez was born in Aracataca – Colombia on March 6th, 1927. He was known by his family and friends as “Gabito” and later his co-workers decided to name him “Gabo”.

Gabo spent his childhood at the side of his grandparents, who lived relevant episodes of Colombian history, events that inspired many of his future books. He recounted these experiences in his book “Live to tell it” published in 2002.

He started law studies at the National University of Colombia and his desire to be a writer led him to give up his career to move to Barranquilla and work as a columnist and reporter for the newspaper “El Heraldo” (The Herald). He also worked for another newspaper called “El Universal” (The Universal). Although Gabo never finished college, some universities, such as Columbia University in New York, have awarded him an honorary doctorate in Letters.

After many years of a very successful career, in 1999 he was diagnosed with cancer. He fought the disease until April 17th of 2014, the day he died in Mexico, D.F. Colombia was hard-hit by his death and the president decreed three days of national mourning.

The Magical Realism of Gabo

García Márquez is one of the central figures of this genre, creating a world so similar to the everyday but at the same time totally different from it. Technically, he is a realist in the presentation of the true and the unreal but somehow skillfully deals with a reality in which the boundaries between the true and the fantastic vanish very naturally. The book that put magical realism on the radar was “Cien Años de Soledad” (One Hundred Years of Solitude), with its seductive mix of fantasy and rawness.

Nobel Prize for Literature

In the early hours of October 21th, 1982, García Márquez received the news he had been waiting for: the Swedish Academy had just awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature. At the award ceremony he was dressed in a classic and impeccable white linen “liqui liqui” wardrobe that was still a suit of etiquette in the Caribbean.

On the other hand, he gave a speech called “The loneliness of Latin America” with the intention of breaking the molds in which Europe has traditionally referred to Latin America. This success gave him the authority to make his voice heard about Colombian political and social life.

Main Works

Among the most famous works of this writer are:

  • Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
  • El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (The colonel has no one to write)
  • El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Love in the times of cholera)
  • El general en su Laberinto (The general in his Labyrinth)
  • Noticia de un secuestro (News of a kidnapping)

Connecting with the Colombian Culture

Reading Gabo is undoubtedly an incredible experience and getting to know the environment and the Colombian culture could bring you double satisfaction! We invite you to connect with Colombia and take a Spanish course at Centro Catalina Spanish School. We are located in two main cities of Colombia, Medellín and Cartagena. If you want more information please visit


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