I first met Gabriel García Márquez on Martha’s Vineyard about ten years ago. Since then it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to count this great Latin American writer among my personal friends. Long before I met him I had read One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I believe is the greatest novel in any language in the last fifty years. It is impossible to calculate the impact of that novel, both on the world’s writers and on its readers. Gabriel García Márquez has demonstrated the full extent and power of literature to pierce to the truth of the spirit and the soul.

Another aspect of Gabriel’s work that I know a little about, and I’ve come to know better, is his extraordinary commitment to journalism, exemplified by his lifetime of work as a journalist and with the Foundation for Latin American Journalism, which conducts extensive workshops for young Latin American journalists, taught by leading journalists from around the world. The Foundation also works in a variety of ways to promote innovation and improvement in the Latin American news media. Gabriel García Márquez’s accomplishments in fiction might be better known to the world, but the Foundation holds a special place in his heart, and in his schedule, second only to his writing.  

Thanks to PEN, an organization that has always shared Gabriel’s commitment to literature and journalism and freedom of speech, for honoring my friend and his lifetime of work.