The death of Colombian author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a writer so definitive in terms of Latin American writing that he has been compared to Cervantes, has sent the world of literature into mourning. We at Parrésia mourn this loss with for he was, without a doubt, a great man of words and letters. He was simply Marquez, he needed to first name or surname. Marquez.
Our author, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, winner of the 2007 BBC African Performance Prize, whose story “The Whispering Trees” [Parresia Books 2012] was shortlisted for the 2013 Caine prize for African Writing, was a 2013 Marquez Fellow. His tribute expresses our loss in all its aspect. He says–
Sometimes, some people contrive to attain immortality by their accomplishments and become living ancestors. But when such immortals pass into the night, it is always stunning for the generations that have been bred on their legends.
I never met Gabo but I felt I knew him intimately. I first encountered his work in 2008 when a friend, who thought there were the faintest hints of similarities between my budding writing and Gabo’s, offered me his novel, Love in the Time of Cholera. I read it and discovered the literary father I didn’t realise I was looking for. I gobbled up everything I could find that Gabo had written thereafter and felt such a connection I had never felt with any other writer before.
This connection was reinforced when in January, 2013, as part of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez fellowship, I walked through the streets of Aracataca, the small Colombian village where he was born and felt as if I have been there before, seen the people before. I felt I knew their stories already.
Read the full tribute, So Long, Gabo, HERE