Augusto Roa Bastos
Biography of Augusto Roa Bastos
Augusto Roa Bastos, (June 13, 1917 – April 26, 2005) was a noted Paraguayan novelist and short story writer, and one of the most important Latin American writers of the 20th century. As a teenager he fought in the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia, and he later worked as a journalist, screenwriter and professor. He is best known for his complex novel Yo el Supremo (I, the Supreme) and for his reception of the Premio Miguel de Cervantes in 1989, Spanish literature's most prestigious prize. Yo el Supremo is one of the foremost Latin American novels to tackle the topic of the dictator. It explores the dictations and inner thoughts of Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, who ruled Paraguay with an iron fist and no little eccentricity from 1814 until his death in 1840.
Roa Bastos' life and writing were marked by experience with dictatorial military regimes. In 1947 he was forced into exile in Argentina, and in 1976 he fled Buenos Aires for France in similar political circumstances. Most of Roa Bastos' work was written in exile, but this did not deter him from fiercely tackling Paraguayan social and historical issues in his work. Writing in a Spanish that was at times heavily augmented by Guaraní words (the major Paraguayan indigenous language), Roa Bastos incorporated Paraguayan myths and symbols into a Baroque style known as magic realism. He is considered a late-comer to the Latin American Boom literary movement. Roa Bastos' personal canon includes the novels Hijo de hombre (1960; Son of Man) and El fiscal (1993; The Prosecutor), as well as numerous other novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays.