(photo credit: AP [file])
Politicians, actors and writers began a marathon reading of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" on Monday as part of events to celebrate the Colombian author's 80th birthday.
Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega began the public reading from the steps of Madrid's Casa de America cultural center with the opening lines: "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."
According to the Casa de America Web site, 80 Garcia Marquez fans will read some 15 minutes or roughly seven pages each from the Nobel Prize laureate's masterpiece over 16 hours.
Garcia Marquez turns 80 Tuesday.
Others taking part in the reading were Secretary of State for Iberoamerica, Trinidad Jimenez, actress Marisa Paredes and radio and television presenter Inaki Gabilondo.
Casa de America said the reading was part of a series of events it will be staging this year to celebrate three anniversaries for Garcia Marquez; his 80th birthday, the 25th anniversary of his winning the Nobel prize for literature, and the 40th anniversary of the publication of "One Hundred Years of Solitude", his most famous book.