Jun 26, 2014

Rundle: Dale’s worst problem was anti-Semitism, not ‘Demidenko’

She's baaaaaaaaack. Helen Demidenko speaks up to re-claim her controversial book.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Twenty years after Ukrainian World War II novel The Hand That Signed The Paper won the Vogel award for best unpublished manuscript, went onto critical acclaim, fierce criticism, and the revelation that its author was British, not Ukrainian, Helen Demidenko (or Dale, as she now is) has emerged from her Edinburgh eyrie. Dale had claimed to be a Ukrainian author by the name of Helen Demidenko, but she turned out to be Australian-born Helen Darville (she is now married and has the surname Dale).  Unsurprisingly, she’s reclaiming the book, not as a shonky attempt to give an average novel a boost with the hint that it was based on true events, but was a, gasp, proud challenge to identity politics. Says The Australian:

“The way she sees it, if she had not assumed a Ukrainian identity, her book would not have been taken ­seriously and would not have been published.

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10 thoughts on “Rundle: Dale’s worst problem was anti-Semitism, not ‘Demidenko’

  1. JohnB

    Well chewed.

    Demidenko/Darville/Dale seems destined to be one of those sad people who re-emerge every decade or so only to self-immolate.

    I hope never to hear another word about this silly young lady who cannot grow up.

  2. susan winstanley

    Brilliant, just brill

  3. zut alors

    No need to fabricate anything for the next bizarro effort: she may as well cobble together a penny dreadful about the real Helen Darville rather than the transmutations.

  4. paddy

    She seems quite unflushable.

  5. Plonkoclock

    I hope not zut; I’ll go with JohnB with this..

  6. AR

    I still remember her strange ejaculations as Scepti Clawyer on the long dead Larvartes Prodeo.

  7. Rena Zurawel

    Is that the only stupid book we know of?

  8. Kevin Herbert

    There is no such thing as anti-semitism.

    There’s only racism.

    The proposition that racism against one group is worse than against another, and therefore deserves a special title, is both intellectually & morally indefensible.

    All minorities have suffered racism throughout history, but only one has used a global mercantile cult to promote its version of history.

    The term is offensive as it forms a central propaganda plank of the Zionist dominated US MSM’s promotion of both Shoah worship & the sanctity of the apartheid, ethnic cleansing State of Israel from legitimate criticism.

  9. AR

    In agreement with KH, using a long spoon.

  10. Jack Robertson

    You’re right, Dale’s tedious and tenuous retrospective claim that she ought to be huzzahed up there with genuine, point-making literary hoaxers has never stood up. But since when have loopy narcissism, self-mythology, opportunism, constantly rewritten autobiography and contrived taboo-cockwalking been deemed off-limits for writers? And by whose authority?

    It’s fiction. Chick wrote a novel. It was awarded a top literary prize by our finest literary etc etc. It shifted units. Then that same bunch of self-appointed finest literary etc etc decided to get the shits with her and invent a bunch of self-flattering rules she’d supposedly transgressed. It killed a shot at a fiction career she is entitled to feel she had earned fair and square.

    She’s a pain-in-the-arse, but it was, is and will always remain a lousy bit of blackguardery.

    As to the anti-Semiticisn fig-leaf…oh, come on, spare us, Guy. That’s such a convenient squib, and it really doesn’t become you. Anti-semiticism is as real as any other irrational prejudice, but it’s only meaningful as a verb, not an abstract noun – which is ultimately all a story can ever be. That’s the singular point – the definitive use – of them.

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