BOGOTA, Colombia — The cremated remains of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez are making their return journey home to Colombia and starting in December will be exhibited in the Caribbean city of Cartagena where he began his writing career.
The decision to permanently exhibit the remains at a colonial-era cloister in the port city’s historic downtown was the result of an agreement reached between authorities and Garcia Marquez’s family, Juan Carlos Gossain, governor of Bolivar state, told The Associated Press.
While books such as “100 Years of Solitude” are infused with Garcia Marquez’s reminiscences from his Colombian upbringing, many speculated his ashes would remain in Mexico, where he lived for decades and received a state funeral following his death in 2014 at the age of 87.
Colombian friends of the author, who is known almost universally as “Gabo,” celebrated the decision.
Garcia Marquez, who was born in a banana-growing hamlet near the Caribbean, arrived in Cartagena in 1948 and immediately landed a job as a journalist at local newspaper El Universal while continuing his law studies.
The walled city was the setting for one of his best-selling novels, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” and his family still maintains a seafront house there as well as a foundation established by the author to train Latin American journalists.
“These first years in Cartagena were a transcendent moment in the young writer’s life,” fellow writer and longtime confidant Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza told The Associated Press. “Cartagena is at the center of the vast Caribbean region that was so linked to his life, his experiences and his work.”
The building where Garcia Marquez’s remains will be kept is owned by the University of Cartagena. Gossain said a bronze bust of the author sculpted by his friend, British artist Kate Murray, will be part of the exhibit.