Demidenko/Darville: A Ukrainian-Australian Point of View


The Demidenko/Darville affair was a difficult episode in the cultural life of Australia. News of the young writer's identity fraud hit front pages of newspapers and the headlines of television and radio. Critique and commentary flooded media and scholarly circles alike, and although the factual news was quickly exhausted, editorialising continued unabated. In the deluge of public attention paid to Demidenko/Darville and her book, one perspective was not well represented nor often expressed: the view of the Ukrainian-Australian community. Neither Darville's constructed Ukrainian-Australian identity nor her text were interrogated or situated within what was supposedly their natural milieu—the writers and readers, the literary culture, and the community of Ukrainian-Australians. This essay is an attempt to supplement the debate with a Ukrainian-Australian point of view. Speaking as an academic, a (second generation) Australian of Ukrainian descent, and a member of the Ukrainian-Australian community, I hope to make known some issues and omissions in the discussion to date.

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Published 1 October 2004 in Volume 21 No. 4. Subjects: Cultural & national identity, Imposture, Literary hoaxes, Ukrainian Australians, Ukrainian literature & writers, Ukrainian people.

Cite as: Mycak, Sonia. ‘Demidenko/Darville: A Ukrainian-Australian Point of View.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 21, no. 4, 2004, doi: 10.20314/als.0711b32d52.