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Gabriel Jose García Márquez: 1928—: Author, Journalist

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García Márquez decided to use his Nobel Prize money to start a newspaper. Yet that venture never materialized, because the author was not satisfied that the independent editorial voice he sought would be respected. Sixteen years later, however, he realized his dream to go back to journalism when he bought the Colombian newsmagazine Cambio in 1999. "Journalism is the only trade that I like," he commented in the New York Times, "and I have always regarded myself as a journalist." The magazine had been struggling, but after García Márquez's purchase its circulation and ad revenues skyrocketed. The writer's international prominence, many observers noted, allowed him access to world leaders who were not always eager to speak to other reporters. "Anyone he calls will pick up the phone," said his American editor, Ash Green, in an Associated Press article. Among the friends and associates about whom García Márquez has written in Cambio are Cuban president Fidel Castro, Colombian industrialist Julio Mario Santo Domingo, and U.S. President Bill Clinton, who had once impressed the writer by reciting long passages of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury by heart. When Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky was revealed, García Márquez defended the president, according to New York Times reporter Larry Rohter, by asking "Is it fair that this rare example of the human species must squander his historic destiny just because he couldn't find a safe place to make love?"

García Márquez's reentry into journalism was not without significant risks. Unlike the more neutral American press, the Colombian media take "a strong position in defense of a democratic state rather than observing from an impartial perch," as Washington Post writer Scott Wilson pointed out. "Reporting in Colombia, particularly by Colombians," Wilson noted, "has long been a perilous vocation. But mounting violence, combined with the weakness of public institutions and the blurry line between journalism and advocacy in a country at war with itself, have increasingly placed journalists high on the list of targets." In the first ten months of 2001, nine journalist were killed in Colombia and dozens received death threats. Despite such dangers, García Márquez continued actively reporting on his country's decades-long war between Marxist guerillas and government forces, as well as on controversial issues in other parts of Latin America.

Among García Márquez's political books from this period are Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littin, a nonfiction account of filmmaker Littin's return to Pinochet's Chile after a period of self-imposed exile. The Chilean government, outraged by the book's content, ordered some 15,000 copies of it burned. In 1997 García Márquez published News of a Kidnapping, based on his investigation of Colombian drug cartels and their destructive influence on that nation's social fabric. "News of a Kidnapping not only provides a fascinating anatomy of 'one episode in the biblical holocaust that has been consuming Colombia for more than 20 years,'" wrote Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, "but also offers the reader new insights into the surreal history of Mr. García Márquez's native country. Indeed, the reader is reminded by this book that the magical realism employed by Mr. García Márquez and other Latin American novelists is in part a narrative strategy for grappling with a social reality so hallucinatory, so irrational that it defies ordinary naturalistic description."

Through the 1980s and 1990s, García Márquez continued to strengthen his reputation as a literary master with publication of the novels Love in the Time of Cholera, based partially on the story of his parents' courtship; The General in His Labyrinth, a fictional account of the final months in the life of nineteenth-century South American revolutionary Simon Bolivar; and Of Love and Other Demons, inspired by the author's recollection of a tomb excavation he had witnessed in 1949, when a centuries-old skeleton of a young girl was discovered with living hair flowing from the skull. García Márquez used this image to create the character of Sierva Maria De Todos Los Angeles, a girl in touch with both the Spanish and the African legacies of her Caribbean heritage. When she is bitten by a mad dog, the area bishop orders an exorcism, but the priest charged with performing the rite falls in love with the girl. As with many of García Márquez's earlier novels, Of Love and Other Demons was hailed for its symbolic commentary on Latin American history. As Times Literary Supplement contributor Michael Kerrigan observed, "To excavate the historic vault in which his people lie buried is, for García Márquez, an act not of desecration but of liberation."

Since the summer of 1999, when he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, García Márquez has lived in relative seclusion, focusing his attention on completing a planned three-volume memoir. He was quoted in a CNN.com report as hailing his diagnosis as an "enormous stroke of luck" that forced him to put aside less urgent projects. The first volume of the memoir will cover the author's family background and his early life. The second will focus on his writing career, and the third will examine his relationships with world leaders.

Selected Writings


La hojarasca (novel; title means "Leaf Storm"), Ediciones Sipa, 1955.

El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (novella), Aguirre Editor, 1961, translated as No One Writes to the Colonel, Harper & Row, 1968.

Los funerales de la Mamá Grande (short stories), Editorial Universidad Veracruzana, 1962.

Cien años de soledad (novel), Editorial Sudamericana, 1967, translated as One Hundred Years of Solitude, Harper & Row, 1970.

Isabel viendo llover en Macondo (novella), Editorial Estuario, 1967.

No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories, Harper & Row, 1968.

Ojos de perro azul (short stories), Equisditorial, 1972.

Leaf Storm and Other Stories, Harper & Row, 1972.

El otoño del patriarca (novel), Plaza & Janes Editores, 1975, translated as The Autumn of the Patriarch, Harper & Row, 1976.

Todos los cuentos de Gabriel García Márquez: 1947-1972 (collected short stories), Plaza & Janés Editores, 1975.

Innocent Eréndira and Other Stories, Harper & Row, 1978.

Dos novelas de Macondo, Casa de las Americas, 1980.

Crónica de una muerte anunciada (novel), La Oveja Negra, 1981, translated as Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Knopf, 1983.

Viva Sandino (play), Editorial Nueva Nicaragua, 1982.

Eréndira (filmscript), Les Films du Triangle, 1983.

Collected Stories, Harper & Row, 1984.

El amor en los tiempos del cólera (novel), Oveja Negra, 1985, translated as Love in the Time of Cholera, Knopf, 1988.

A Time to Die (filmscript), ICA Cinema, 1988.

Diatribe of Love against a Seated Man (play, first produced at Cervantes Theater, Buenos Aires, 1988), Arango Editores, 1994.

El general en su labertino (novel), Mondadori, 1989, translated as The General in His Labyrinth, Knopf, 1990.

Collected Novellas, HarperCollins, 1990.

Doce cuentos peregrinos, Mondadori, 1992, translated as Strange Pilgrims: Twelve Stories, Knopf, 1993.

The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World: A Tale for Children, Creative Education, 1993.

Del amor y otros demonios (novel), Mondador, 1994, translated as Of Love and Other Demons, Knopf, 1995.


(With Mario Vargas Llosa) La novela en America Latina: Dialogo, Carlos Milla Batres, 1968.

Relato de un naufrago (journalistic pieces), Tusquets Editor, 1970, translated as The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, Knopf, 1986.

Cuando era feliz e indocumentado (journalistic pieces), Ediciones El Ojo de Camello, 1973.

Cronicas y reportajes (journalistic pieces), Oveja Negra, 1978.

(Contributor) Los sandanistas, Oveja Negra, 1979.

(Contributor) Asi es Caracas, edited by Soledad Mendoza, Editorial Ateneo de Caracas, 1980.

El olor de la guayaba: Conversaciones con Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza (interviews), Oveja Negra, 1982, translated as The Fragrance of Guava, 1983.

(With Guillermo Nolasco-Juarez) Persecucion y muerte de minorias: dos perspectivas, Juarez Editor, 1984.

(Contributor) La Democracia y la paz en America Latina, Editorial El Buho, 1986.

Primeros reportajes, Consorcio de Ediciones Capriles, 1990.

(Author of introduction) An Encounter with Fidel: An Interview, by Gianni Mina, Ocean Press, 1991.

Elogio de la utopia: Una entrevista de Nahuel Maciel, Cronista Ediciones, 1992.

News of a Kidnapping, Knopf, 1997.

(With Reynaldo Gonzales) Cubano 100%, Charta, 1998.



Bell, Michael, Gabriel García Márquez: Solitude and Solidarity, St. Martin's Press, 1993.

Bell-Villada, Gene H., García Márquez: The Man and His Work, University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Volume 82, Gale, 1999.

Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale, 1996.

Dolan, Sean, Gabriel García Márquez, Chelsea House, 1994.

Fiddian, Robin W., García Márquez, Longman, 1995.

Janes, Regina, Gabriel García Márquez: Revolutions in Wonderland, University of Missouri Press, 1981.

McGuirk, Bernard and Richard Cardwell, editors, Gabriel García Márquez: New Readings, Cambridge University Press, 1988.

McMurray, George R., Gabriel García Márquez, Ungar, 1977.

Wood, Michael, Gabriel García Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Cambridge University Press, 1990.


New York Times, June 19, 1997; March 3, 1999.

New York Times Book Review, September 29, 1968; March 8, 1970; February 20, 1972; October 31, 1976; July 16, 1978; September 16, 1978; November 11, 1979; November 16, 1980; December 5, 1982; March 27, 1983; April 7, 1985; April 27, 1986; August 9, 1987; April 10, 1988; September 16, 1990, pp. 1, 30; May 28, 1995, p. 8; June 15, 1997.

New Yorker, February 19-26, 2001.

Time, March 16, 1970; November 1, 1976; July 10, 1978; November 1, 1982; March 7, 1983; December 31, 1984; April 14, 1986; May 22, 1995; June 2, 1997, p. 79.

Times Literary Supplement, July 7, 1995.

Washington Post, October 14, 2001, p. A28.

World Literature Today, Winter 1982; Winter 1991, p. 85; Autumn 1993, pp. 782-783.


CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/2000/books/news (December 11, 2000).

Nobel e-Museum, http://www.nobel.se/literature/

—Elizabeth Shostak

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyGabriel Jose García Márquez: 1928—: Author, Journalist Biography - A Childhood Steeped In Myth, Success As A Journalist, Wrote Critically Acclaimed Novel, Won Nobel Prize