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Roa Bastos, Augusto (José Antonio) 1917–2005

Roa Bastos, Augusto (José Antonio) 1917–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 13, 1917, in Iturbe (some sources say Asunción), Guaira, Paraguay; died of complications following surgery after a fall April 26, 2005, in Asunción, Paraguay. Author. Best known for his novel Yo el supremo, Roa Bastos was an award-winning novelist who wrote of the political and social problems faced by people in his homeland. Encouraged by his mother to write at an early age, he became a newspaper reporter and later a correspondent in Europe and North Africa during the 1940s. In his early writings, he focused on poetry and short stories, and his antigovernment opinions led him into self-exile by 1947. He lived in Argentina until a group of military officers seized power there in 1976, which caused him to move to France. A brief attempt to return home in 1982 was fated with failure when dictator Alfredo Stroessner declared Roa Bastos an enemy-of-the-state. Stroessner's declaration came as no surprise; Roa Bastos would often used fiction to protest the history of dictatorship and oppression in his country, notably in such novels as Hijo de hombre (1960), which was translated in 1965 as Son of Man, and Yo el supremo (1974), which was translated as I the Supreme (1986). Nominated several times for the Nobel prize, Roa Bastos did not win that honor, but he was the recipient of another important award: the Cervantes Prize for Literature in Spanish, which he received in 1989. After spending most of his life abroad, Roa Bastos finally returned home in 1996, several years after Stroessner's death. Among his other writings are the poetry collections El naranjal ardiente, nocturno paraguayo: 1947–1949 (1960) and Poesias reunidas (1995), the short-story collections Antología personal (1980) and Cuentos Completos (2000), and the novels Vigilia del Almirante (1992) and El fiscal (1993).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2005, p. B19.

New York Times, April 28, 2005, p. A25.

Times (London, England), May 9, 2005, p. 50.

Washington Post, April 30, 2005, p. B7.

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