Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez, Barcelona (Photo: SUMA Architecture/Ajuntament de Barcelona)
Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez, Barcelona (Photo: SUMA Architecture/Ajuntament de Barcelona)

Barcelona inaugurates new library in honor of Gabriel García Márquez, who lived in the city for ten years.

One of the first activities will take place on June 16 and 17, and will be a festival of Latin American literature.


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At a cost of more than 12 million USD, Barcelona inaugurated on May 21 the Gabriel García Márquez Library, a new cultural facility that will specialize in Latin American literature. 

The Catalan capital pays homage to the renowned Colombian writer and Nobel Prize winner, who lived in the city between 1965 and 1975, a city "where he could breathe", as he himself said on several occasions.
 The new library, located in a modern Nordic-style building in the Sant Martí district, near one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods (Poble Nou), has a collection of 40,000 books, mostly Latin American literature.

Inside will be installed a 50-kilo figurative bust of Gabo, which last week traveled from Colombia to the city where the Nobel laureate lived for nearly a decade. The bust is expected to arrive today, Monday, after a series of bureaucratic procedures at El Prat airport delayed its arrival at the library. The director, Neus Castellano, joked on Thursday suggesting that "Gabo wanted to take a last tour of his beloved Barcelona before arriving at his final resting place," according to the newspaper La Vanguardia.

The same source reported that the initiative for the bust, the work of sculptor Oscar Noriega, came from the city of Cartagena de Indias itself and other nearby towns that constitute Gabo's literary universe. A retinue of eighteen personalities from the Colombian Caribbean will attend the official inauguration of the sculpture on May 28th, demonstrating "that the opening of this library opens a scenario conducive to strengthening the relationship between Barcelona and the literary cities of Colombia".


One of the first activities will take place on June 16 and 17, and will be a festival of Latin American literature. The festival 'Km América', organized by Casa Amèrica Catalunya and Biblioteques de Barcelona, will be directed by Mexican writer Eduardo Ruiz Sosa and each June will invite 15 authors and will adapt each year a novel to the theater. The lineup of guests has not yet been made public, but there will be five writers living in America, five in Europe and five in Barcelona, in order to encourage dialogue between territories.

"The idea is for it to become a traditional festival in Barcelona, a benchmark," explained to 'La Vanguardia' Ruiz Sosa, who has lived in the city for some time. Although it will focus on narrative, the festival will have a leaning toward theater, explore links with the performative and the stage. Saturday the 18th will see the premiere of a theatrical adaptation of the novel 'La débil mental' by Argentine writer Ariana Harwicz.

 The writers come from Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Brazil, because "we will not only deal with Spanish-speaking America," said Sosa, also stating that they will put a special focus on "the peripheral, the marginal, the non-hegemonic literatures. We want authors to come not only from Buenos Aires and Mexico City but also from their peripheries, from diverse landscapes and accents. The library itself is in Sant Martí".

 This first festival will have eight round tables, two theatrical performances and an oral narration show (La dicha de la palabra dicha) by Colombian Nicolás Buenaventura. All events will be free of charge.

The García Márquez will become the district's central library and the fifth in Barcelona. The 19,000 users will notice a big difference with respect to the old library, now closed, which until now was the smallest in the city, with just 280 square meters. Now there are 3,000, spread over a two-volume building linked internally by a central courtyard. It is made of wood panels and the facades are covered with beams and slabs.
 The building will also house the first radio studio located in a library in Barcelona. The radio will be the voice of the 40 libraries in the municipal network.

The García Márquez Library is just 20 minutes by metro from Plaça de Catalunya, the city's nerve center.


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