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Ota Pavel

The Czech Republic

Ota Pavel (1930–1973, born Otto Popper) was a Czech writer, journalist and sports journalist, well known for his autobiographical novels and short stories.

Pavel’s career as a sports journalist ended when he was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder after first showing signs of mental illness during the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. He later described the episode in his book Jak jsem potkal ryby *(How I Came to Know Fish*). In 1966 the effects of his affliction forced his retirement and several admissions to mental hospitals for treatment. This difficult period in his life was also his most creative, in which he produced his strongest and most lyrical collections. He died of a heart attack in 1973.

His writing was influenced mainly by his experiences of childhood and World War II. His work was heavily censored by the Communist regime.

Pavel’s most important books are Smrt krásných srnců (The Death of Beautiful Deer, 1971) and Jak jsem potkal ryby (How I Came to Know Fish, 1974), commonly published together in one volume.

Ota Pavel