Augusto Roa Bastos was a Paraguayan novelist and short story writer. 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 and for winning the Premio Miguel de Cervantes in 1989, Spanish literature's most prestigious prize. Yo el Supremo 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, Roa Bastos incorporated Paraguayan myths and symbols into a Baroque style known as magical realism. He is considered a late-comer to the Latin American Boom literary movement. Roa Bastos' canon includes the novels Hijo de hombre and El fiscal, as well as numerous other novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays.
In all nations an exceptional man exists that compensates the deficiencies of the remainder. In those moments, when humanity is found collectively in a state of decadence, there always remain those exceptional beings as point of reference.