One hundred Atlanta-area readers who love the work of celebrated writer and Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez will gather on Sunday afternoon, May 18, at 1 p.m. at Kavarna coffee shop at 707 E. Lake Drive, Decatur, GA 30030 (venue change from courthouse square due to rain forecast) to honor the author of “100 Years of Solitude” and other internationally acclaimed works. Marquez died on April 17.

The commemorative reading takes place at the Harris Bandstand on the Decatur Square and volunteers will read three minutes each from “100 Years of Solitude.” The event will continue until 100 readers have lifted their voices.

“Marquez stands shoulder-to-shoulder with history’s most important literary innovators,” says Charles McNair, Books Editor at Paste Magazine and author of the novel “Pickett’s Charge.” “His influence can be seen in the work of writers from every corner of the globe. That influence feels especially important here in Atlanta. Many writers I know acknowledge some degree of influence, small or large, from this giant of 20th-century literature.”

Partners in organizing the event, which spontaneously began to be discussed in the Atlanta literary community following news of Marquez’s death, include AJC Decatur Book Festival, Paste Magazine, WMLB AM 1690, A Cappella Books, Eagle Eye Bookshop, Vouched Books, Atlanta Writers Club, The Bitter Southerner, Poetry Atlanta, and the Java Monkey Speaks reading series. Other partners will be announced as the event nears.

Marquez’s first novel, “100 Years of Solitude,” popularized magical realism in fiction. The inventive writing style blended elements of the impossible — magic, illusion, supernatural happenings — with normal life, departing from the realm of truth in order to deepen it. Marquez’s legacy rests on more than 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, most set in his native Colombia.

“We invite the Atlanta community to join us on the beautiful Decatur Square as 100 Readers of Solitude share a spellbinding book,” says McNair. “Bring a blanket, a chair, and a picnic basket. Relax on the grass on a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon. Help Atlanta honor and celebrate the life of a great writer.”

Participants do not have to be writers or scholars, and all ages and nationalities of Marquez-lovers may take part in the reading. Those who wish to read on Sunday may sign up and request a preferred time by emailing charles@pastemagazine.com. Every effort will be made to accommodate requests.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.