Gabriel García Márquez …

was born in Aracataca, Colombia, on this date in 1928. The Writer’s Almanac has a lengthy essay on García Márquez that concludes with:

In January of 1965, he was driving from Mexico City to his home in Acapulco when the entire first chapter of a novel came into his head. He began writing as soon as he got to his house, and worked on nothing else for the next 18 months. When he finished, he was twelve-thousand dollars in debt, and he had to sell his wife’s hairdryer in order to pay the postage to send the manuscript to his editor. That novel was One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), about several generations of a family in the fictional village of Macondo. It begins, “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

One Hundred Years of Solitude is now considered one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. García Márquez won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 and has gone on to write many more books, including Love in the Time of Cholera (1988) and The General in His Labyrinth (1989). His most recent book is Living to Tell the Tale (2002), the first volume of his autobiography.