The Gabriel García Márquez fellowship in cultural journalism

Photo: Joaquín Sarmiento/FNPI Files

Photo: Joaquín Sarmiento/FNPI Files

“Even if I were set loose blindfolded, I would know I was in the Caribbean.” This is how Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez describes his visceral connection with this region, to which he owes the cadence and exuberance of his literary and journalistic work. This is the cultural universe that has nurtured a good portion of his life.

The inspiration for an international training program was born from this connection. The Foundation for New Journalism (FNPI), created by Gabriel García Márquez in Cartagena de Indias, and the Ministry of Culture of Colombia have joined forces to create a creative program in which reporters from across the globe will have the opportunity to strengthen their skills in cultural journalism through narrating—in Spanish and English—stories that speak of the Caribbean culture, one which mixes the richness of popular traditions with the latest in literature, music, and visual arts.

The aim of this workshop is to use the themes of music, literature, and popular culture to strengthen the foundations on which cultural journalism is built, specifically the interview, extended reportage, and critical commentary. This will also be an opportunity to reflect on the role of cultural journalism in an era in which the creator and the audience can increasingly communicate more directly, facilitated by digital media.

The fellowship will take place during the Cartagena International Music Festival, the Cartagena de Indias Hay Festival, and the pre-Carnival of Barranquilla, a public festival declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. These three international events bring together extraordinary artistic expressions, both contemporary and popular, in two cities that act as a prism for understanding the universes García Márquez created.

The reporters that have been invited to this program will work under the guidance of master lecturers, experienced colleagues who will accompany them through the whole process. Expert guest lecturers will also contribute to broaden their horizons as well as define the criteria that should be used to explore the events and characters that will fill their stories.

The fellowship’s activities will be divided into three modules: music, popular culture, and literature. Each module will be approached with the methodology that characterizes the FNPI’s workshops, where emphasis is placed on practical work, dialogue, and professional exchange in an informal setting where camaraderie is promoted.

The Gabriel García Márquez Fellowship in Cultural Journalism is an open call from the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for New Journalism and the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, in collaboration with the Secretary of Culture of Barranquilla, Red Assist, and the Cartago Foundation, with support from the Hay Festival, the Cartagena International Music Festival, the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, the Organización Ardila Lülle,, and the Carnaval of Barranquilla. By participating in this program—which aspires to become an annual program—the Ministry of Culture and other supporting entities highlight Gabriel García Márquez’s passion for journalism, literature, music, and Caribbean culture.