“La Tertulia” is the Spanish word for a ‘social gathering with artistic or literary overtones,’ and it is also the name of a new student group for Hispanic culture. This new group hosted a marathon reading of the novel Cien años de soledad, or One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, this past Friday, Feb. 13 in the Horn Gallery.
Olivia Lott ’15 and Claudia Pepe ’15, co-presidents of La Tertulia spearheaded the event. “In 2014, this past year, Gabriel García Márquez died, and we decided we wanted to use this book to commemorate his life, since it’s known so well both in English and Spanish,” Pepe said. The reading was scheduled to go from Friday at 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. Saturday, with volunteers reading the novel either in English or Spanish throughout the day. In the end, more than 110 people campuswide signed up for shifts to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the reading ended at about 1 a.m.
This event was also a success for the group because it was their first campuswide project, and easily their most ambitious to date. “La Tertulia generally only has small events specifically for Spanish speakers or those in Spanish classes,” Lott said. “We’re really excited to host a larger bilingual event that reaches the whole campus.”
As ambitious as it was, the event itself was everything they had hoped for. The enclosed space of the Horn Gallery created a calming and intimate environment that allowed attendees to focus on what was being read, and even for those who had never read the book. “I read a part of his book when I was much younger,” Emma Welsh-Huggins ’17, a reader for the event, said. “But I never got the chance to finish it, and it felt incredible and moving to revisit it so many years later in this kind of Kenyon community setting.” Students, professors and community members alike collaborated on this event because it was something they cared about and were invested in: a perfect example of how art and literature can bring people together.