Today in 1927, Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in Aracataca, Colombia. Marquez is considered among the most influential and popularly beloved Spanish-language authors in history, and is included in most lists of greatest figures in the history of letters in general. Marquez was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1972 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982.
Marquez was raised by his grandparents on his mother's side, until his father took him, along with his brother, to Sincé in 1936. He was the product of a relationship that was frowned upon by his mother's father, who waged a losing battle to separate her from Marquez's father, Eligio Garcia. Marquez's grandfather, nicknamed The Colonel, was a major influence on Marquez. He was a hero of the Thousand Days War, whose accomplishments and moral character won him renown among Colombian Liberals. Marquez's literary style was influenced by his grandfather's storytelling and his grandmother's droll, superstitious worldview.
A young Marquez started his literary career in journalism. His nonfiction writing won him many accolades, as did his early short stories. He is remembered, however, as a novelist. He is the best known figure in the "magical realism" school of fiction. His most famous works are One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Autumn of the Patriarch and Love in the Time of Cholera.
Marquez is one of the minority of authors who achieved both the highest levels of praise among professional critics and widespread popularity with common readers. His books are still staples of school reading curriculums worldwide.
Marquez passed away in April of 2014. The event was widely mourned. The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, named him "the greatest Colombian who ever lived."