Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ashes have been laid to rest in the Colombian city of Cartagena.
The ashes of the late Nobel Prize winning novelist were flown home from Mexico where he had lived for years and where he died in 2014 at the age of 87.
A ceremony was held in the cloisters of Cartagena University, near Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s family home in the city.
The author is best known for his magic realist novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.
A bronze bust of Gabriel Garcia Marquez was unveiled by the writer’s son Rodrigo Garcia Barcha in the center of the cloisters of the university as the centerpiece of the memorial.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was considered the finest writer of the Spanish language since Cervantes
“It’s a day of joy mixed with sorrow,” the writer’s sister Aida Rosa Garcia Marquez told the French news agency AFP.
“But there is more joy than sorrow because to see a brother get to where Gabito reached can only bring joy.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in the town of Aracataca near Colombia’s northern Caribbean coast and started working as a journalist in the late 1940s in Cartagena.
The writer had lived since the 1980s in Mexico but his family decided he should be buried in Cartagena where many of his family members were also interred.
“Cartagena is the city where the Garcia Marquez family is based. It is where my grandparents are buried,” said Gonzalo Garcia Barcha, one of the writer’s two sons, from France where he now lives in an interview with AFP.
“It seemed natural to us that his ashes should be there too.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez had a love-hate relationship with Cartagena; the city appears in several of his novels often depicted as a decadent place full of conflict with a class-ridden and racist society.
University of Texas in Austin has acquired the personal archive of Colombian Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, including manuscripts for 10 of his books.
Colombian Culture Minister Mariana Garces said it was a loss for Colombia, but the author’s family said the government had not approached them.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died in April at the age of 87, was born in Colombia but did much of his writing in Mexico.
The archive spans more than 50 years and includes letters between Gabriel Garcia Marquez and writers such as Graham Greene, Gunter Grass and Carlos Fuentes.
There is also material related to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s political work and his close friendship with Fidel Castro.
Among the manuscripts is the original One Hundred Years of Solitude, perhaps Garcia Gabriel Marquez’s most famous book.
The collection will be placed in the University of Texas’s research library, the Harry Ransom Center.
University of Texas president Bill Powers said: “The University of Texas at Austin with expertise in both Latin America and the preservation and study of the writing process, is the natural home for this very important collection.”
Public memorials to Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died on Thursday in Mexico City aged 87, are being hold in Mexico and Colombia.
The presidents of Colombia and Mexico are due to attend a formal ceremony with funeral cortege in Mexico City, where Garcia Marquez lived for decades.
At the same time residents in his home town of Aracataca in northern Colombia will hold a symbolic funeral.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was considered the finest writer of the Spanish language since Cervantes.
The author was cremated at a private family ceremony in Mexico City last week.
A funeral cortege is taking Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ashes from his house to the historic centre of Mexican City for the memorial ceremony.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was considered the finest writer of the Spanish language since Cervantes (photo EPA)
The event in the majestic Palace of Fine Arts will be attended by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto and the author’s wife, Mercedes Barcha, and sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.
Thousands of members of the public who are mourning his loss will also say goodbye to Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the cultural venue, which is where Mexico pays tribute to its late artistic icons.
It has been adorned with yellow flowers, the author’s favorite, and a string quartet will perform music by the Hungarian Bela Bartok, among other composers.
In Colombia, residents are holding a ceremony of their own in his birth place of Aracataca, the inspiration for Macondo, the setting for his 1967 seminal masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude, which sold millions of copies around the world.
On Tuesday, the Colombian government will hold a formal ceremony at the main cathedral in the capital Bogota, which will be televised.
Then on Wednesday, Colombians will have readings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel No One Writes to the Colonel in hundreds of libraries, parks and universities across the country.
There may be an element of disappointment in Colombia that the first main event to commemorate Gabriel Garcia Marquez is taking place in Mexico rather than his country of origin.
But rather than a diplomatic spat, it simply reflects the degree to which both countries – indeed all Latin Americans – considered Gabriel Garcia Marquez to be their own.
One solution being posited is that Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ashes be divided between Mexico and Colombia, but his family has not yet revealed its wishes.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez fled Colombia in 1981 after learning that the country’s military wanted to question him over links to left-wing guerrillas.