December 6, 2016

In which Fidel Castro edits Gabriel García Márquez


Castro in Washington in 1959. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Castro in Washington in 1959. Via Wikimedia Commons.

On top of leading the Cuban Revolution, bringing the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere, surviving more than 600 assassination attempts, and governing a nation for nearly 50 years, the late Fidel Castro also dabbled in editing fiction.

Not just any fiction, Nobel Prize-winning fiction.

PRI reports that Castro served as an early reader for the novels written by his longtime friend, the Colombian master Gabriel García Márquez. Author Stephanie Panichelli-Batalla (Fidel and Gabo) told PRI that “Gabo” “would give Fidel a book of his to read before he went to the publisher. And Fidel would come back with corrections.”

“Many people say that Fidel was an eager reader,” Panichelli-Batalla goes on. “You would give him a book one night and the next day he would have read it and have excellent comments on the book and great constructive feedback on it.” More than we can say for our own homegrown authoritarian, who read All Quiet on the Western Front a couple times, or at least once in high school, or maybe just remembers seeing that title somewhere?



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.