Gabriel García Márquez was born in Aracataca, in the "banana zone" of Colombia. His parents left him to be reared by his grandparents. His grandfather, Colonel Nicolás Márquez, admired greatly Simón Bolivar. Later García Marquez returned to the hero of South American independence in EL GENERAL EN SU LABERINTO (1989), which traced Simón Bolívar's final journey down the Magdalena river. From his grandmother he learned the oral tradition.

García Márquez studied law and journalism at the National University in Bogóta and at the University of Cartagena. While a law student in Bogota, he dressed like the celebrated singer and actor Carlos Gardel and frequented brothels. Once he was beaten when he failed to pay for the services. His first story, 'The Third Resignation', appeared in 1947. Next year he started his career as a journalist. For the next 10 years he worked in different towns in Latin America and Europe. One of his most famous reportages was an account of a young sailor, Luis Alejandro Velasco, who was swept off the Columbian destroyer Caldas into the Caribbean Sea. García Márquez was an European correspond in Rome and Paris for the newspaper El Espectador in 1955, but lost his post when the newspaper was closed down by the dictator Rojas Pinilla. He was founder of Prensa Latina, a Cuban press agency, and worked in Prensa Latina office in Havanna and New York. In 1958 he married Mercedes Barcha Pardo; they had two children.

In the 1960s García Márquez continued his career in Mexico City, his primary residence ever since, as a screenwriter, journalist, and publicist. He moved in the 1970s for some years to Barcelona and returned to Mexico in the later 1970s. In 1979 he founded Fundación Habeas, he also was a founder of a film school near Havanna. In 1982 García Márquez went to Colombia.

García Márquez published his first short stories in the 1940s. In 1955 appeared the novella LA HOJARASCA (Leaf Storm), which introduced to the public the fictional Colombian village of Macondo, an equivalent of William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha. Since then it has been the setting in many of his later books. Márquez's early works, starting from Leaf Storm, went unnoticed by scholars and critics, despite their literary merits. From Alejo Carpentier Márquez learned to work with concurrent historical epochs and gradually influences from Faulkner gave way to his more objective manner of depiction, partly derived from his experiences in journalism. Among other important writers, who have influenced García Márquez, are Kafka, Virginia Woolf, and Juan Rulfo.

In the short story 'Death Constant Beyond Love' (1970) Márquez sharply observed politics, poverty, and corruption. The protagonist, Senator Onésimo Sánches, is no hero - his electoral campaing is a circus, he takes bribes and helps the local property owners to avoid reform. "His measured, deep voice had the quality of calm water, but the speech that had been memorized and ground out so many times had not occurred to him in the nature of telling the truth, but, rather, as the opposite of a fatalistic pronouncement by Marcus Aurelius in the fourth book of his Meditations." (in Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, 1972). But Stoic understanding of the emptiness of his career doesn't help the senator, and he dies weeping with rage, without the love of Laura Farina, a village girl.

In 1982 García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His best known book is CIEN ANOS DE SOLEDAD (1967, One Hundred Years of Solitude), first published by Editorial Sudamericana in Buenos Aires. It is the history of Macondo, depicted on a epic level, from its mythic foundation to its final disappearance. Combining the world of the bourgeois family chronicle and Latin American history it explores the limits of narrative fiction, wihout the sterility of the French nouveau roman. One Hundred Years of Solitude become one of the most popular works of Magic Realism. Ursula K. Le Guin said in an interview with Amazon.com: "That idea of "realism is literature and every other form of fiction is not literature" didn't get really badly shaken until the magical realists popped up in South America. When you've got García Márquez around, you just can't go on that way."