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Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel Garcia-Marquez turns 70

March 6, 1998
Web posted at: 3:05 p.m. EST (2005 GMT)

(CNN) -- Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, the creator of "magical realism," etched his name into literature history with such books as "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and "Love in the Time of Cholera." The winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in literature is 70 on Friday.

He has chronicled the world of Macondo, a town built from Garcia-Marquez' imagination and probably influenced by his childhood in Colombia. Influenced by a rich heritage, Garcia-Marquez gives such a detailed account of the physical and moral collapse of the town, it's hard to believe that it doesn't exist.

The Swedish Academy of Letters said it honored him "for his novels and short stories in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts."


The author was born in Aracataca, a village in northern Colombia that his grandfather helped found. Garcia-Marquez was raised by his maternal grandparents and grew up listening to stories of the War of a Thousand Days, in which his grandfather was a colonel. His grandmother was a staunch believer in folk tales and was superstitious. There were also tales of family ghosts told by the many aunts who flowed in and out of his childhood home.

His grandfather, former Colonel Nicholas Ricardo Marquez Mejia, was a Liberal and had openly criticized those responsible for the banana massacres. He gave a fiery speech about the murders before Congress in 1929.

Mejia was also a gifted storyteller and related to his grandson the living history he had witnessed.

Both evocative of Colombia's history and inspired fantasy, Garcia-Marquez' work is considered genius by the literary world.

  • Born: March 6, 1928, Aracataca, Colombia
  • Raised by grandparents because his parents were poor
  • Education: Universidad Nacional in Bogota,
    Universidad de Cartagena, studied law
  • Began writing column for El Universal while in college
  • Disinterested in law, began studying literature
  • Awarded Nobel Prize for literature in 1982
  • "Leaf Storm and Other Stories" (1955)
  • "No One Writes to the Colonel" (1961)
  • "Los funerales de la Mamá Grande" (1962)
  • "In Evil Hour" (1962)
  • "Collected Stories" (1962)
  • "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1967)
  • "The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor" (1970)
  • "The Autumn of the Patriarch" (1975)
  • "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" (1981)
  • "Love in the Time of Cholera" (1985)
  • "Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Litt’n" (1986)
  • "The General in His Labyrinth" (1989)
  • "Strange Pilgrims" (1992)
  • "Love and Other Demons" (1994)

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