News ID: 321090
Published: 0718 GMT April 17, 2022

Barcelona honours Gabriel García Márquez with new library

Barcelona honours Gabriel García Márquez with new library

In the digital age, building a new library filled with old-fashioned printed books seems idealistic, almost quixotic. Not so in Barcelona. The city council is about to open a new €12m (£10m) library next month, the latest instalment in a programme that dates back 20 years.

The library, in the working-class district of Sant Martí de Provençals, has been named in honour of the Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, wrote.

“The plan for the new library was under way when García Márquez died in 2014 so it was decided to name it in his honour because he and many other Latin American authors had a close relationship with the city,” said Neus Castellano, its chief librarian. “It’s a nod towards the role Barcelona has played in Latin American literature.”

García Márquez lived in Barcelona from 1967 to 1975, arriving shortly after the publication of his groundbreaking magical realism novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’.

He already knew something of the city through his friend Ramón Vinyes, a Catalan writer and bookseller living in Colombia, who served as the model for “the wise Catalan” in ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’.

However, it was the Barcelona literary agent Carmen Balcells, one of the first to recognise the worth of the writers of the Latin American “boom”, who persuaded Gabo – as García Márquez was affectionately known – to move to the city.

She continued as his agent until his death, as well as representing other luminaries of Latin American fiction such as Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes and Pablo Neruda.

“They called Carmen Balcells ‘Mamá’,” Castellano said, because she did not just help them with their writing but with finding a place to live or schools for their children.

The new library that bears his name will be housed in a purpose-built 4,000-square-metre timber-framed building that has been awarded a gold LEED certificate, the highest rating for sustainability. It will specialise in Latin American literature and hold a collection of 40,000 relevant documents.



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