Otäära Kotoka

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Otäära Kotoka ([o'tæ:ra 'kotoka]; 1961-2009) is a modern Arithian novelist of Tannaean birth, whose works have achieved wide critical acclaim for their social realism and boldness in confronting the hypocrisies of political correctness and its humiliating impact on the minority groups ostensibly so protected. While outspoken in his books, Kotoka is well-known to be laconic in real life, preferring to keep a low public profile even while he wrote numerous impassioned articles, letters and essays in support of making Tannaean, his native tongue, an official language of Tannaea province. With the sole exception of his first book, Viodh, which was written in the Arithide, he wrote exclusively in Tannaean, and in 1990 CIE published Tonoko, the Tannaean translation of Viodh, and withdrew all remaining unsold copies of Viodh from circulation.

In a bitter irony that paralleled the end of Sukura Mekoona, a character from So, the absurdist novel for which he is most famous and which departs the most from his usual style and subject matter, Kotoka was murdered the evening of his 48th birthday on the busy Pänno Street in Tannea, walking past a patisserie, as his usual evening stroll took him, when his assailant hit the back of his head with a large rock and tied his hands around a lamppost in a hugging position. According to eyewitness accounts, bystanders "simply were bystanders—they just stood gaping, and when I finally rushed over his attacker was already gone"1 . His death sparked outrage and condemnation, and a vigil held two days later degenerated into violent demonstrations at the provocation of unidentified persons, apparently of Unionist affiliation, who threw a small petrol bomb into the crowd in the middle of the minute-long silence, yelling out "Retribution for devolution", before taking off and leaving an Arithian flag behind.

Before his death, he was working on a seventh novel, which he had neither finished nor titled, but which was published posthumously as I, or loosely "Suspicion".


  • 1986 CIE, Tännaa Leimy "Old Forest"
  • 1989 CIE, E Na Änyry "With a Smile"
  • 1990 CIE, Tonoko "Winter", originally written and published in the Arithide in 1984 as Viodh
  • 1993 CIE, So variously translated as "Words", "Sayings", "Proverbs", Stories" or "The Prediction"
  • 1997 CIE, Taata "Expert" (note that the title is the adjective, not the noun)
  • 2006 CIE, Käälää Sö "The Outsider" or "The Stranger"
  • 2010 CIE, I "Suspicion" (unfinished, posthumous)



Tannea Evening Post, 19.7.2009