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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 March 2007, 16:21 GMT
Gabriel Garcia Marquez turns 80
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez now lives in Mexico
Colombia is marking the 80th birthday of its most famous writer, the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Aracataca, his hometown, woke up to 80 cannon salvos. Paper and metal yellow butterflies then filled public spaces.

Cities and towns across Colombia are holding events - but the author, who now lives in Mexico, is not expected to set foot in the country.

Spain has already marked the occasion with a marathon reading of the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega read the opening pages of the 1967 novel by the man often credited with bringing the magic realism genre to a wider global audience.

Then, over some 20 hours, 80 politicians, writers and actors from the Spanish-speaking world took 15-minute turns to read from the author's best-known book.

Nobel Prize

"He was born in Colombia, but all of us who speak Spanish have in him a referent of perfection and the creation of beauty," Colombian Ambassador to Spain Noemi Sanin said in Madrid.

In Aracataca, parades, music festivals and religious ceremonies are taking place on Tuesday.

It has also been announced that the zinc and wood house in which "Gabo" - as he is known in Colombia - lived as a child will be restored.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude and 25 years since Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Garcia Marquez - who has been writing for the past 60 years - is also known for other novels such as Love in the Time of Cholera and Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

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