Gabriel García Márquez was born on this day in 1927 in Aracataca, Columbia. Raised by maternal grandparents, he grew up as the eldest of an astounding twelve siblings. His grandparents raised him in such a way that filled his childhood with stories. They told tales of his family, about his grandfather’s military experience and his grandmother told fantastical accounts of his parent’s dating escapades.
Transitioning into adulthood, he was affected by the story-telling culture he grew up in and published his first story while he was still in college.
During the 1950’s, he was living what he called a “bohemian life.” His life consisted of reading a large number of books by international authors and traveling around Europe at his pleasure. Toward the end of the decade, he returned to Columbia and married Mercedes Barcha Pardo in 1958.
Until the release of his first novel in 1967, he was previously known for writing short fiction and screenplays. He took the time to somewhat isolate himself in his home in Mexico City until he finished the novel, Cien Años de Soledad, or One Hundred Years of Solitude. He was credited with introducing many readers all over the world to the magical realism genre through this work.
His works were able to sell well internationally in the tens of millions, a feat not many authors can claim. In 1985, he released a novel El Amor en los Tiempos del Cólera or Love in the Time of Cholera, which was loosely based on the stories he heard as a child about his parents dating escapades.
In 1982, Márquez was honored to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature for his fantastical works. Sadly, the world lost this amazing writer and adventurer on April 17, 2014 at the age of 87.
If you wish to learn more about the life of Marquez you can read his memoir Vivir Para Contarla or Living to Tell the Tale in which he delves deeper into his life and works.