MEXICO — While examining the photographic archive left behind by Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, one of his granddaughters came across a mysterious plastic box with the word “grandchildren” written on its label.
At first, Emilia García Elizondo was afraid to open the box, but curiosity got the better of her. Inside were 150 unpublished letters he had received from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, former US President Bill Clinton, Cuban President Fidel Castro and actor Robert Redford, among others.
Forty of the letters will be on display for two months from June 16 in the colonial house in the south of the Mexican capital where García Márquez lived with his wife, Mercedes Barcha, from the 1980s until his death in 2014.
The exhibition is part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. Another event, which includes the exhibit “Gabriel García Márquez: The Creation of a Global Writer,” will open on June 18 at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City.
“I’m 32 and all of this continues to impress me,” García Elizondo, director of the García Márquez Foundation, told The Associated Press, describing her shock at finding the box in a cupboard on the second floor of her large -parents. ‘ lodge. She had walked past the office several times without paying much attention.
García Márquez’s granddaughter said the discovery came as a surprise to the family because they believe all of his personal letters and correspondence were at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which has the largest collection of writer’s papers.
“You never expect to find this kind of thing even if you already know who Gabo is…I will always think that Gabo does everything like magic,” she said. García Márquez is affectionately known in Latin America as Gabo.
Among the letters that will be on display are five from Castro, one from Neruda, two from Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, two from Mexican guerrilla leader Subcomandante Marcos, one from Redford, one from director Woody Allen and seven from Clinton.
In one, dated December 28, 1999, Clinton tells the Colombian writer the emotion he and his wife, Hillary, felt at a concert of Colombian Vallenato music given by young people at the House White. He described the music as a “treasure” and a “wonderful counterpoint to the negative images often associated with your beautiful country”.
Also included is a handwritten letter Castro, dated Dec. intention to continue to be useful to the revolution. .”
Gonzalo García Barcha, the writer’s youngest son and Emilia’s father, said the family misses García Márquez very much. García Márquez has four grandchildren.
“That’s why we do these kinds of activities. We want to keep this house alive,” he said.