Together these writers created the Dictator novel genre. In his lifetime he made important contributions to Latin American Boom writing to the related Dictator Novel and to the Nuevo Cine film movement through screenplays like Alias Gardelito (1961). Even before Yo el Supremo Roa Bastos was considered part of "the pantheon of great writers" by some critics due to Hijo de hombre.
He is best known for his complex novel Yo el Supremo (I the Supreme) and for winning the Premio Miguel de Cervantes in 1989 Spanish literature's most prestigious prize. Roa Bastos' 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. 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.