From the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to the poems of Candelario Obeso, Colombian literature has produced an array of remarkable writers whose works continue to captivate readers worldwide.
Colombian literature has witnessed a rich tradition that has left a lasting impact on Hispanic-American literature. From the 19th century to the present day, Colombian writers have contributed works that span a wide range of literary genres.
Five most prominent Colombian writers
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“A writer can write whatever he wants, as long as he can make it believable.”
This iconic quote by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, affectionately known as ‘Gabo,’ summarizes the essence of his literary genius. Born in Aracataca, Colombia, in 1927, Garcia Marquez is universally acclaimed for his masterpiece, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” His imaginative narrative, tinged with magical realism, has captivated readers around the world. In addition to his role as a novelist, Garcia Marquez was a prominent journalist and the founder of the New Latin American Journalism Foundation. His legacy endures as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
“Am I a black male? Well, I’m glad of it!”
Candelario Obeso, hailing from Mompox, was a pioneer of African-American poetry in the Americas. His most representative work, “Popular Songs from My Homeland,” pays homage to his roots and celebrates the richness of Colombian culture. The spark of his personality and the exuberance of his verses have left an indelible mark on Colombian literature. In addition to his poetic contributions, Obeso was a polyglot who translated works by Shakespeare and other prominent authors.
“It was one of those nights, nights of my homeland, which could well be day where there are no nights like these.”
Rafael Pombo is a revered name in Colombian children’s and poetic literature. His verses have enchanted generations of Colombian children, and his famous creation, “Rinrin renacuajo,” is a classic of children’s literature. Pombo, besides being a consummate fabulist, was a distinguished diplomat. His works, such as “Mirringa mirronga” and “Simon el bobito,” remain fundamental in Colombian literary education.
Jose Eustasio Rivera
“She, who yesterday maintained her alliance with the winds, knows that every flight alone finds emptiness; and sick of horizons, sad with power, seeks in peace the final dream of happiness.”
Jose Eustasio Rivera, originally from Huila, Colombia, is recognized for his epic work “The Vortex.” This novel, set in the South American jungle, is a chronicle of the era and a literary milestone. Rivera, in addition to being a writer, was a lawyer. His poetry, represented in “Land of Promise,” is also a notable contribution to Colombian literature.
“Go, thought, go free and fly.”
Jorge Isaacs, born in Cali, is famous for his work “Maria,” considered one of the most significant novels of the 19th century in Latin America. This novel offers a profound look at Valle del Cauca society and the social structure of Colombia in that period. Isaacs’ narrative extends to poetry and journalism, and his work has been translated into more than 30 languages, making him a true classic of Colombian literature.
These five Colombian writers have left an indelible mark on their country’s literature and on world literature. Their works continue to be read and admired, and their legacy endures as a testament to the literary richness of Colombia.