One of the world’s greatest writers, Gabriel García Márquez celebrates his 85th birthday today! For decades, the Colombian Noble Prize-winner has challenged our imaginations with intricate stories layered with motifs about revolution, family, rebellion, and love. Márquez, who is known for countless of bestselling novels including his mammoth classic “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in The Time of Cholera,” has taught us that our magical journey as readers never ends.
Find out 5 things you didn’t know about him below:
1. He was a journalist before becoming a writer:
Márquez started his career as a journalist while also studying law at The University of Cartagena. Shortly after completing his degree, he started writing for the publication in Barranquilla titled El Heraldo. He was paid about three pesos per piece. During an interview with The NY Times, Márquez revealed, ''I have always been pulled by the world of journalism. And I am still fascinated by the relationship between journalism and literature.'' During his career as a journalist, he was introduced to the works of literary masters Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner.
2. He was raised by his grandparents:
The famous writer grew up in a small town named Aracata in Colombia. He was the eldest of 16 children to telegraph operator Gabriel Eligio García and wife Luisa Santiaga Márquez Iguarán. His parents didn’t stay in the picture for long. After they fled their town, his grandmother Tranquilina Iguarán Cotes and grandfather Colonel Nicolás Márquez Iguarán raised Márquez. His grandmother was known for telling mystical ghost stories, which would later influence his writing style.
3. He is a cancer survivor:
Márquez was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer and underwent chemotherapy ten years ago. The cancer went into remission and the Colombian mastermind starting crafting his memoir, “Living to Tell The Tale.”
4. His nickname is “Gabo”:
The famous writer is mainly known as “Gabo” in Latin America. In an interview, he reflects on why Latinos are fans of his writing style known as magical realism, “Latin Americans are used to a world where fantastic things are part of daily lives. Here we believe that behind the reality of rationalists there’s still a lot of space where things can’t be explained.”
5. He is a family man:
Márquez married his wife Mercedes Barcha in 1958. They have two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo Garcia. While “Gabo” worked on "One Hundred Years of Solitude," Barcha pawned most of the couple’s possessions just to get by. The publication has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.