Gabriel Garcia Marquez celebrates 85th birthday in a year of milestones

Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, seen here in 2007, turns 85 on Tuesday.

Story highlights

  • Fans celebrate Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 85th birthday
  • 2012 also marks the 30th anniversary of his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • His acclaimed novel, "100 years of silence," launched as an e-book Tuesday
It's not often that an author's 85th birthday coincides with the 30th anniversary of his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. But such is the life of Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is celebrating several milestones in 2012.
Fans around the world celebrated the birthday of "Gabo" on Tuesday with festivals and readings of his acclaimed novels, including the internally renowned, "100 years of solitude." The novel, which chronicles trials and tribulations of generations of the Buendia family, also celebrates in 2012 the 45th anniversary of its publication with its launch Tuesday as an e-book.
Widely regarded as one of the most important contemporary Latin American authors, García Márquez was born in 1928 in the northern Colombian town of Aracataca, the inspiration for the fictional town of Macondo, the setting of "100 years of solitude." After high school, he went to the capital city of Bogota to study law, but soon traded his studies for work as a journalist, according to the Nobel Academy. As he traversed Europe and North America, never staying in one place for long, he generated a large body of journalism, fiction and screenplays, along with a reputation for being openly critical of Colombian politics.
Aracataca is one of many places marking his birthday Tuesday, beginning with a morning mass and gatherings throughout the day at various cultural institutions for art exhibits, shows and lectures in honor of the novelist.
In Mexico, where Garcia Marquez has spent many years of his life and enjoys a huge following, fans will read "100 years of solitude" uninterrupted from Monday to Friday, according to Conaculta, Mexico's National Council for Culture and Arts. A three-part series aired Monday on Canal 22 dedicated to his life and career with a focus on his time in Mexico.
Across the globe, the Colombian Embassy in Russia has committed to rolling out a series of cultural events in 2012 around the theme of "Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Russia," according to the embassy's website. The events are dedicated to building cultural ties between the two countries, the embassy said.
As a journalist, Garcia Marquez visited Russia in 1957 and later published recollections of his experience as a magazine supplement called "Ninety Days Behind the Iron Curtain," according to a 1999 New Yorker profile by Jon Lee Anderson.