Emilia García Elizondo discovered 150 letters from famous world leaders and writers while looking through photo archives left by her grandfather, Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez. Gabo, as he was affectionately called throughout Latin America, was a Colombian author and journalist most known for his novel 100 Years of Solitude (which turned 55 this year). He is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, especially in Spanish. His use of magical realism left a particularly memorable mark on the world.
As director of the García Márquez foundation, García Elizondo told the Associated Press the letters surprised her and her family. They believed all his correspondences lived in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. But this discovery proved otherwise. The letters come from various figures like Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and director Woody Allen among others.
Forty of these letters are on display at the home García Márquez lived in with his wife in southern Mexico City until he passed in 2014. The documents are part of a two-month exhibition in celebration of the 40th anniversary of his Nobel Prize in Literature. They include five from Castro, one from Neruda, one from Allen, two from Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, seven from Clinton, and many more. Another exhibition opened on June 18 in Mexico’s Museum of Modern Art titled “Gabriel García Márquez: The Making of a Global Writer” in honor of the celebration.
One letter consists of Bill Clinton’s appreciation for Colombian culture after a group of young Colombians performed at the White House in 1999. In another, Woody Allen checks in with García Márquez stating, “Good luck and if you need me for anything, give a call.”
The letters demonstrate García Márquez’s popularity around the globe. Their exhibition is an incredible way to keep his memory, his legacy, and his work alive.