Author Salman Rushdie speaks at keynote address for new Gabriel García Márquez archive

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Award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie presented a keynote address to commemorate the opening of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s archive at the Harry Ransom Center on Wednesday.
Photo Credit: Jesús Nazario | Daily Texan Staff

Salman Rushdie, author of the controversial “The Satanic Verses,” paid tribute to the late author Gabriel García Márquez in a keynote address Wednesday night to commemorate a new archive at the Harry Ransom Center dedicated to him.

The address was part of the 12th biennial Flair Symposium which marked the opening of the archives of García Márquez, the Colombian Nobel Prize-winning author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

Despite never meeting him, Rushdie said he revered García Márquez’s work and was initially surprised that his work resonated so well with Latin-American literature.

“I knew there was nothing about the Latin-American literary world I could relate to nor the reality from which it sprang, but after that first encounter I didn’t care,” Rushdie said. “I responded with a simple openness, and I had the innocence of a reader called in a moment where the beauty accompanied the text.”

The archive, supported by the University’s Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies’ Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, opened on Oct. 21 for research, according to a news release.

Megan Barnard, associate director for acquisitions and administration at the Harry Ransom Center, said she believes the archive will provide a unique look at the author’s life and literature.

“We anticipate that Gabriel García Márquez’s archive will be among our most frequently studied collections, not only because of the importance of his literary works, but also because of his significance in a range of disciplines, from journalism to Latin American history and politics to film,” Bernard said.

According to a news release, the archive includes 75 boxes of documents, including  manuscript drafts of his work and correspondence letters to a close friend about the writing of “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

“Students and faculty will be especially interested in the unpublished works in the archive, particularly García Márquez’s unfinished novel ‘En Agosto Nos Vemos’ and the early drafts related to the unfinished second volume of his memoir,” Barnard said.

The documents gathered for this archive provide a way to expose students to the cultural attributes of Latin-American literature, according to Gabriela Polit, associate professor in the department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Polit said she believes UT professors should take initiatives to keep the archive alive and relevant.

“As a legacy of García Márquez’s work and life, this archive positions us, the Latin-American faculty here at UT, the obligation to transform it into a vibrant learning experience for our current and future students,” Polit said.