About this item
As war crimes prosecutions seize Australia, Fiona Kovalenko discovers that her own family is implicated in the darkest events of the 20th century. This is their story. Helen Demidenko was 22 years old when she won the Australian/Vogel Award for The Hand that Signed the Paper, which went on to win the Miles Franklin Award. The book was controversial from the beginning, with its unsettling account of the Ukrainian famine, the involvement of ordinary Ukrainian villagers in the Holocaust, and Australia’s 1990s war crimes prosecutions. It was praised for its writing and secrets gathered from family and community. It took two years for the truth to emerge: Helen Demidenko was Helen Darville; she had no Ukrainian heritage. Her narrator, Fiona Kovalenko, was not a barely-disguised surrogate for the author after all: she was a pure invention—and so, it seemed, was Helen Demidenko. As claims of fraud fought for airtime and column inches beside accusations of anti-Semitism and anti-Ukrainian sentiment, Helen withdrew from the literary scene to become a lawyer.
Number of Pages: 140
Genre: Fiction + Literature Genres
Publisher: Trafalgar Square
Author: Helen Dale
Street Date: June 1, 2018
Item Number (DPCI): 248-34-0807
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