Gabriel García Márquez's magical realist novels and short stories exposed millions of readers to Latin America's passion, superstition, violence and inequality. Widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, he achieved literary celebrity that spawned comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.
MEXICO CITY (AP) – The family of Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez says the late Colombian novelist's archive was offered only to the University of Texas, which will be the materials' repository.
In the letter dated Nov. 24, but delivered to the Associated Press on Tuesday by a García Márquez assistant in Mexico City, the author's widow, Mercedes, and sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo wrote that his wish and theirs was to divide additional items between his native Colombia and his longtime home Mexico.
The Harry Ransom Center, a literary research archive at the university's campus in Austin, announced Monday that it would receive the archive.
The family explained that it chose the Texas center "because it is one of the places that does this sort of archiving and preservation of documents better than anyone."
"At no time was the archive offered to other centers and at no moment was it auctioned, nor was the highest bidder sought," the letter said.
The Ransom Center already has extensive archives on writers Jorge Luis Borges, William Faulkner and James Joyce. Other Nobel laureates included in its collection are Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.
Monday's announcement had raised eyebrows in Colombia.
"There's some regret that this entire archive we're talking about didn't go to Colombia, but I understand there were private negotiations and we respect those," Sergio Zapata, spokesman with the National Library of Colombia, said after the deal was revealed.
García Márquez's family said some objects would go to the Colombian library, including the typewriter the author used to write "One Hundred Years of Solitude," as well as his Nobel Prize medal and certificate. They said discussions with the national library had been going on for more than a year.
"There will also be other things that we want to leave in Mexico, since it was Gabo's home for 50 years," the family said, without specifying what those items would be. García Márquez was known lovingly as Gabo.
García Márquez, the ultimate exemplar of literature's magic realism, died April 17 at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.