Close Modal

I'm Not Here to Give a Speech

Look inside
Paperback
$14.95 US
5.17"W x 7.97"H x 0.47"D   | 6 oz | 24 per carton
On sale Jan 08, 2019 | 160 Pages | 978-1-101-91118-1
Available in English for the first time in the U.S., a collection of the speeches of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez.

Throughout his life, Gabriel García Márquez spoke publicly with the same passion and energy that marked his writing. Now the wisdom and compassion of these performances are available in English for the first time. I'm Not Here to Give a Speech records key events throughout the author's life, from a farewell to his classmates delivered when he was only seventeen to his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Written across a lifetime, these speeches chart the growth of a genius: each is a snapshot offering insights into the beliefs and ideas of a world- renowned storyteller. Preserving García Márquez's unmistakeable voice for future generations, I'm Not Here to Give a Speech is a must-have for anyone who ever fell in love with Macondo or cherished a battered copy of Love in the Time of Cholera.
I’m Not Here to Give a Speech is a welcome reminder of his immense contributions to literature, as well as his skill in using literary fame to highlight the distinct culture and creative strength of Latin America." --Christian Science Monitor

“Márquez speaks with the future in mind. . . . Language is his love.” —The Independent

"A set of speeches given over the course of his long literary career offers snapshots of the Colombian author's uniquely eloquent humanitarian voice and vision. . . . Essential truths in the rare and generous voice of a maestro." --Kirkus Reviews
 
“This neat collection sets out the revered Colombian novelist’s two key passions. . . . First is a quest to identify a Latin American spirit, and to celebrate and defend it. Second is an enduring belief in the power of the imagination. . . . [He was] as poetic and polemical in speaking as he was in writing.” —Art Review

I’m Not Here to Give a Speech
radiates a familiar humorous charm and robust sensuality. . . . The book is of a piece with the fiction, and equally haunting.”The Irish Times
 
"These talks, so eloquently rendered by García Márquez’s longtime translator Grossman, capture the novelist’s passion, genius, and energetic way of telling a story with a clear moral." —Publishers Weekly
© Caleb Bach
GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ was born in Colombia in 1927. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. He died in 2014. View titles by Gabriel García Márquez
A SOUL OPEN TO BE FILLED WITH MESSAGES IN SPANISH
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, March 26, 2007
 
Not even in my most delirious dreams in the days when I was writing One Hundred Years of Solitude did I imagine I would see an edition of 1 million copies. To think that a million people could decide to read something written in the solitude of a room, with only the twenty-eight letters of the Spanish alphabet and two fingers as the entire arsenal, seemed madness from every point of view. Today, the Academies of the Language have published this edition as a gesture towards a novel that has passed before the eyes of fifty times a million readers, and towards an insomniac artisan like me, who cannot leave behind his surprise at everything that has happened.
 
But this is not and cannot be a matter of honouring a writer. This miracle is the irrefutable demonstration that there are an enormous number of people prepared to read stories in the Spanish language, and therefore a million copies of One Hundred Years of Solitude are not a million tributes to the writer who blushes as he receives today the first book of this print run. It is proof that there are millions of readers of texts in the Spanish language waiting for this nourishment.
 
Nothing has changed since then in my writing routine. I have never seen anything other than my two index fingers striking one by one and at a brisk pace the twenty-eight letters of the unmodified alphabet that I’ve had before my eyes for more than seventy years. Today, it was incumbent upon me to lift my head and attend this tribute, for which I am grateful, and all I can do is stop and think about what it is that has happened. What I see is that the non-existent reader of my blank page is today an immense crowd hungry to read texts in Spanish.
 
The readers of One Hundred Years of Solitude are a community who, if they lived on the same piece of ground, would be one of the twenty most populous countries in the world. This isn’t a boastful statement. Just the opposite. I simply want to show that there are a number of human beings who have demonstrated with their habit of reading that their souls are open to be filled with messages in Spanish. The challenge for all writers, all the poets, narrators, and educators in  our language, is to quench that thirst and increase that crowd, the real raison d’etre of our craft and, of course, ourselves.
 
When I was thirty-eight, having already published four books since my twenties, I sat down at the typewriter and wrote: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” I had no idea of the significance or the origin of that sentence, or of where it would lead me. What I know today is that for eighteen months I didn’t stop writing for a single day until I finished the book.
 
It may seem untrue, but one of my most pressing problems was typewriter paper. I was ignorant enough to think that mistakes in typing, language, or grammar were actually creative errors, and whenever I found them I tore up the page and tossed it in the wastepaper basket to start again. With the rhythm I had acquired in a year of practice, I calculated it would take me six months of daily mornings to finish the book.
 
Esperanza Araiza, the unforgettable Pera, the typist for poets and filmmakers, had typed fair copies of great works by Mexican writers. Among them, Carlos Fuentes’ Where the Air is Clear, Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo, and several original scripts by Don Luis Bunuel. When I proposed that she type up the final version, the novel was a rough draft riddled with corrections, first in black ink and then in red to avoid confusion. But that was nothing for a woman accustomed to everything in a lion’s cage. Years later, Pera confessed that, as she was taking home the final version that I had corrected, she slipped as she got off the bus in torrential rain, and the pages were left floating in the quagmire of the street. She gathered them, soaking wet and almost illegible, with the help of other passengers, and dried them in her house, page by page, with an iron.
 
What could have been the inspiration for another, better book was how Mercedes and I survived with our two sons during that time when I didn’t earn a penny anywhere. I don’t even know how Mercedes managed to have food in the house every day during those months. We had resisted the temptation of loans with interest until we tied up our hearts and made our first incursions into the pawnshop.
 
After the short-lived relief afforded by certain small things, we had to turn to the jewelry that Mercedes had received from her family over the years. The expert examined them with the rigor of a surgeon, inspected and checked again with his magical eye the diamonds in the earrings, the emeralds in the necklace, the rubies in the rings, and finally returned them to us with the long veronica of a bullfighter: “All of this is nothing but glass.”
 
In the moments of greatest difficulty, Mercedes made her astral calculations and told the patient landlord, without the slightest tremor in her voice: “We can pay you the full amount in six months.”
 
“Excuse me, senora,” the owner replied, “but do you realize that by then it will be an enormous amount?”
 
“I do realize that,” said an impassive Mercedes, “but by then we’ll have everything resolved. Don’t worry.”
 
And when she responded to the good lawyer who was a highly placed state official and one of the most elegant and patient men we had ever met, again her voice didn’t tremble.
 
“Very well, senora, your word is good enough for me,” and he made his fatal calculations. “I’ll expect you on September 7.”
 
At last, at the beginning of August 1966, Mercedes and I went to the post office in Mexico City to send to Buenos Aires the finished version of One Hundred Years of Solitude, a package containing 590 pages typed doubled spaced on ordinary paper, and addressed to Francisco Porrua, literary director of Editorial Sudamericana.
 
The post-office clerk placed the package on the scale, made his mental calculations, and said: “That’ll be eighty-two pesos.”
 
Mercedes counted the notes and loose change remaining in her purse and confronted reality: “We have only fifty-three.”
 
We opened the package, divided it in half, and sent one to Buenos Aires without even asking ourselves how we would get the money to post the rest. Only afterwards did we realize we hadn’t sent the first half but the second. But before we got hold of the money to mail it, Paco Porrua, our man in Editorial Sudamericana, anxious to read the first half of the book, forwarded us the money so that we could send it to him.
 
That was how we were reborn into our new life of today.
 
 
 
 
The Academy of Duty, Zipaquirá, Colombia, November 17, 1944

How I Began to Write, Caracas, Venezuela, May 3, 1970

Another, Different Homeland, Mexico City, October 22, 1982

The Solitude of Latin America, Stockholm, Sweden, December 8, 1982, Ceremony awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature

A Toast to Poetry, Stockholm, Sweden, December 10, 1982

Words for a New Millennium, Havana, Cuba, November 29, 1985

The Cataclysm of Damocles, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico, August 6, 1986

An Indestructible Idea, Havana, Cuba, December 4, 1986

Preface to a New Millennium, Caracas, Venezuela, March 4, 1990

I’m Not Here, Havana, Cuba, December 8, 1992

In Honour of Belisario Betancur on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia, February 18, 1993

My Friend Mutis, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia, August 25, 1993

The Argentine who Endeared Himself to Everybody, Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City, February 12, 1994

Latin America Exists, Contadora, Panama, March 28, 1995

A Different Nature in a World Different from Ours, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia, April 12, 1996

Journalism: The Best Job in the World, Los Angeles, United States, October 7, 1996

A Bottle in the Ocean for the God of Words, Zacatecas, Mexico, April 7, 1997

Dreams for the Twenty-first Century, Paris, France, March 8, 1999

The Beloved Though Distant Homeland, Medellín, Colombia, May 18, 2003

A Soul Open to be Filled with Messages in Spanish, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, March 26, 2007

About

Available in English for the first time in the U.S., a collection of the speeches of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez.

Throughout his life, Gabriel García Márquez spoke publicly with the same passion and energy that marked his writing. Now the wisdom and compassion of these performances are available in English for the first time. I'm Not Here to Give a Speech records key events throughout the author's life, from a farewell to his classmates delivered when he was only seventeen to his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Written across a lifetime, these speeches chart the growth of a genius: each is a snapshot offering insights into the beliefs and ideas of a world- renowned storyteller. Preserving García Márquez's unmistakeable voice for future generations, I'm Not Here to Give a Speech is a must-have for anyone who ever fell in love with Macondo or cherished a battered copy of Love in the Time of Cholera.

Praise

I’m Not Here to Give a Speech is a welcome reminder of his immense contributions to literature, as well as his skill in using literary fame to highlight the distinct culture and creative strength of Latin America." --Christian Science Monitor

“Márquez speaks with the future in mind. . . . Language is his love.” —The Independent

"A set of speeches given over the course of his long literary career offers snapshots of the Colombian author's uniquely eloquent humanitarian voice and vision. . . . Essential truths in the rare and generous voice of a maestro." --Kirkus Reviews
 
“This neat collection sets out the revered Colombian novelist’s two key passions. . . . First is a quest to identify a Latin American spirit, and to celebrate and defend it. Second is an enduring belief in the power of the imagination. . . . [He was] as poetic and polemical in speaking as he was in writing.” —Art Review

I’m Not Here to Give a Speech
radiates a familiar humorous charm and robust sensuality. . . . The book is of a piece with the fiction, and equally haunting.”The Irish Times
 
"These talks, so eloquently rendered by García Márquez’s longtime translator Grossman, capture the novelist’s passion, genius, and energetic way of telling a story with a clear moral." —Publishers Weekly

Author

© Caleb Bach
GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ was born in Colombia in 1927. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. He died in 2014. View titles by Gabriel García Márquez

Excerpt

A SOUL OPEN TO BE FILLED WITH MESSAGES IN SPANISH
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, March 26, 2007
 
Not even in my most delirious dreams in the days when I was writing One Hundred Years of Solitude did I imagine I would see an edition of 1 million copies. To think that a million people could decide to read something written in the solitude of a room, with only the twenty-eight letters of the Spanish alphabet and two fingers as the entire arsenal, seemed madness from every point of view. Today, the Academies of the Language have published this edition as a gesture towards a novel that has passed before the eyes of fifty times a million readers, and towards an insomniac artisan like me, who cannot leave behind his surprise at everything that has happened.
 
But this is not and cannot be a matter of honouring a writer. This miracle is the irrefutable demonstration that there are an enormous number of people prepared to read stories in the Spanish language, and therefore a million copies of One Hundred Years of Solitude are not a million tributes to the writer who blushes as he receives today the first book of this print run. It is proof that there are millions of readers of texts in the Spanish language waiting for this nourishment.
 
Nothing has changed since then in my writing routine. I have never seen anything other than my two index fingers striking one by one and at a brisk pace the twenty-eight letters of the unmodified alphabet that I’ve had before my eyes for more than seventy years. Today, it was incumbent upon me to lift my head and attend this tribute, for which I am grateful, and all I can do is stop and think about what it is that has happened. What I see is that the non-existent reader of my blank page is today an immense crowd hungry to read texts in Spanish.
 
The readers of One Hundred Years of Solitude are a community who, if they lived on the same piece of ground, would be one of the twenty most populous countries in the world. This isn’t a boastful statement. Just the opposite. I simply want to show that there are a number of human beings who have demonstrated with their habit of reading that their souls are open to be filled with messages in Spanish. The challenge for all writers, all the poets, narrators, and educators in  our language, is to quench that thirst and increase that crowd, the real raison d’etre of our craft and, of course, ourselves.
 
When I was thirty-eight, having already published four books since my twenties, I sat down at the typewriter and wrote: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” I had no idea of the significance or the origin of that sentence, or of where it would lead me. What I know today is that for eighteen months I didn’t stop writing for a single day until I finished the book.
 
It may seem untrue, but one of my most pressing problems was typewriter paper. I was ignorant enough to think that mistakes in typing, language, or grammar were actually creative errors, and whenever I found them I tore up the page and tossed it in the wastepaper basket to start again. With the rhythm I had acquired in a year of practice, I calculated it would take me six months of daily mornings to finish the book.
 
Esperanza Araiza, the unforgettable Pera, the typist for poets and filmmakers, had typed fair copies of great works by Mexican writers. Among them, Carlos Fuentes’ Where the Air is Clear, Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo, and several original scripts by Don Luis Bunuel. When I proposed that she type up the final version, the novel was a rough draft riddled with corrections, first in black ink and then in red to avoid confusion. But that was nothing for a woman accustomed to everything in a lion’s cage. Years later, Pera confessed that, as she was taking home the final version that I had corrected, she slipped as she got off the bus in torrential rain, and the pages were left floating in the quagmire of the street. She gathered them, soaking wet and almost illegible, with the help of other passengers, and dried them in her house, page by page, with an iron.
 
What could have been the inspiration for another, better book was how Mercedes and I survived with our two sons during that time when I didn’t earn a penny anywhere. I don’t even know how Mercedes managed to have food in the house every day during those months. We had resisted the temptation of loans with interest until we tied up our hearts and made our first incursions into the pawnshop.
 
After the short-lived relief afforded by certain small things, we had to turn to the jewelry that Mercedes had received from her family over the years. The expert examined them with the rigor of a surgeon, inspected and checked again with his magical eye the diamonds in the earrings, the emeralds in the necklace, the rubies in the rings, and finally returned them to us with the long veronica of a bullfighter: “All of this is nothing but glass.”
 
In the moments of greatest difficulty, Mercedes made her astral calculations and told the patient landlord, without the slightest tremor in her voice: “We can pay you the full amount in six months.”
 
“Excuse me, senora,” the owner replied, “but do you realize that by then it will be an enormous amount?”
 
“I do realize that,” said an impassive Mercedes, “but by then we’ll have everything resolved. Don’t worry.”
 
And when she responded to the good lawyer who was a highly placed state official and one of the most elegant and patient men we had ever met, again her voice didn’t tremble.
 
“Very well, senora, your word is good enough for me,” and he made his fatal calculations. “I’ll expect you on September 7.”
 
At last, at the beginning of August 1966, Mercedes and I went to the post office in Mexico City to send to Buenos Aires the finished version of One Hundred Years of Solitude, a package containing 590 pages typed doubled spaced on ordinary paper, and addressed to Francisco Porrua, literary director of Editorial Sudamericana.
 
The post-office clerk placed the package on the scale, made his mental calculations, and said: “That’ll be eighty-two pesos.”
 
Mercedes counted the notes and loose change remaining in her purse and confronted reality: “We have only fifty-three.”
 
We opened the package, divided it in half, and sent one to Buenos Aires without even asking ourselves how we would get the money to post the rest. Only afterwards did we realize we hadn’t sent the first half but the second. But before we got hold of the money to mail it, Paco Porrua, our man in Editorial Sudamericana, anxious to read the first half of the book, forwarded us the money so that we could send it to him.
 
That was how we were reborn into our new life of today.
 
 
 
 

Table of Contents

The Academy of Duty, Zipaquirá, Colombia, November 17, 1944

How I Began to Write, Caracas, Venezuela, May 3, 1970

Another, Different Homeland, Mexico City, October 22, 1982

The Solitude of Latin America, Stockholm, Sweden, December 8, 1982, Ceremony awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature

A Toast to Poetry, Stockholm, Sweden, December 10, 1982

Words for a New Millennium, Havana, Cuba, November 29, 1985

The Cataclysm of Damocles, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico, August 6, 1986

An Indestructible Idea, Havana, Cuba, December 4, 1986

Preface to a New Millennium, Caracas, Venezuela, March 4, 1990

I’m Not Here, Havana, Cuba, December 8, 1992

In Honour of Belisario Betancur on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia, February 18, 1993

My Friend Mutis, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia, August 25, 1993

The Argentine who Endeared Himself to Everybody, Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City, February 12, 1994

Latin America Exists, Contadora, Panama, March 28, 1995

A Different Nature in a World Different from Ours, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia, April 12, 1996

Journalism: The Best Job in the World, Los Angeles, United States, October 7, 1996

A Bottle in the Ocean for the God of Words, Zacatecas, Mexico, April 7, 1997

Dreams for the Twenty-first Century, Paris, France, March 8, 1999

The Beloved Though Distant Homeland, Medellín, Colombia, May 18, 2003

A Soul Open to be Filled with Messages in Spanish, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, March 26, 2007

Books in Bloom

Springtime means warmer weather, a season of renewal, and fresh new books perfect for spring holidays, blooming garden parties, and outdoor adventures! Whether you’re hosting the holidays or looking to flex your green thumb, we have everything you need to gift, garden, and grow this spring. Check out our highlights below to browse our favorite

Read more