Today is 150th anniversary of the birth of Armenian satirist writer Yervand Otyan

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Today is the birthday of the Ottoman Armenian writer, satirist, journalist, publicist, literary critic and translator Yervand Otyan.

Otyan is considered one of the most prolific and significant Armenian satirists along with Hakob Paronyan.

Yervand Otyan was born on September 19, 1869 in Constantinople into a wealthy family. In 1882 he entered the Perperian School, but a year and a half later he switched to home schooling on the recommendation of teachers.

Since his family was educated and appreciated art, in his youth he read a lot and learned French. In 1879, together with his uncle, he made a nine-month trip to the largest cities in Europe.

He began to publish in 1887, joining the newspaper “Hayrenik” (“Homeland”), owned by Arpiar Arpiarian. From 1892 to 1896 Yervand Otyan was an assistant editor of this publication, and from 1896 - its chief editor.

During his literary career, he initially worked only as a critic and publicist, but since 1892 he also began to write his own fiction stories. Their topics led to conflict with the Ottoman authorities, which is why he was included in the list of “dangerous persons”, therefore, in August 1896, because of the Armenian pogroms, he secretly fled from Constantinople to Athens, having lived abroad for the next twelve years.

During this period, he lived in Cairo, Paris, Alexandria, London and Bombay. Otyan returned to Constantinople only after the Young Turk revolution in 1908. Many of his works were published abroad during the period of forced emigration in the satirical publications he founded in various cities where he temporarily lived.

In 1915, when the Armenian Genocide began in the Ottoman Empire, Otyan, along with some other Armenian cultural figures, was exiled to the Syrian desert, after which he immediately went to the city of Deir ez-Zor, where due to his knowledge of French and Turkish he managed to get the position of a translator at the German consulate.

Otyan supported the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia.

In 1919 he returned to Istanbul and worked exclusively in literary sphere, and was also known for his social activities, organizing the placement of Armenian children undergoing deportation in shelters. In 1922 he left Constantinople and settled in Bucharest, in 1924 he moved to the Lebanese city of Tripoli. In 1925 he moved to Cairo, where he died and was buried.

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