At the time the book generated twin controversies: 1) It was anti-Semitic in its portrayal of Jews within the story about the Ukrainian famine and the Holocaust; and 2) despite claims from "Demidenko" that she'd used her "Dad's memories of what the (Ukrainian) famine was like", it turned out her parents were English and she was exposed in the media as a "literary hoaxer".
"Demidenko" was actually born Helen Darville.
The Darville scandal was co-opted by both sides in the mid-to-late ’90s culture wars in Australia. In 1997, Darville was sacked by the Courier Mail newspaper after it revealed her weekly column "plagiarised the work of an American writer on the internet".
Darville re-emerged onto the scene a decade later as Helen Dale, writing for political publications and blogs. According to a recent report, Dale spent the years away from Australia completing study as a lawyer at Oxford and Edinburgh universities.
Dale briefly worked as a political staffer for libertarian senator David Leyonhjelm, before moving back to the UK, where she is now a regular writer for UK conservative magazine The Spectator.
This year, the spotlight has again fallen on Dale as news broke that the author was reissuing her controversial first novel, with her second book, a courtroom drama called Kingdom of the Wicked, set to be released in October.