People who copy other people’s work and pass it off as their own should be given a refugee’s welcome in Australia according to Western Plains’ most famous writer and plagiarist Walter Fustaigne.
However opponents of his scheme claim that despite the wide open spaces between the ears of most literary critics in Australia, the country does not have the resources to support literary frauds from overseas and that instead more effort should go in to supporting indigenous fraud.
They point to the need to encourage home grown talent like Helen Darville who won the Miles Franklin award for her autobiographical novel based on the experiences of her Ukrainian family. Except she’s not Ukrainian and they weren’t her family. Or Norma Khouri whose non-fiction account of the honour killing of her best friend in Jordan turned out to be well…complete fiction. And most impressively of all, white male author Leon Cameron, who passed himself off as a Pitjantjatjara woman and won the Dobbie award for his completely fake memories of being part of the stolen generation.
In recent years, the name of James Thurber’s fictional fantasist Walter Mitty has been bandied about by the persistent band of hoaxers who, for whatever reason, claim to know who Walter Mitty is.
So what is it that drives Australian literary critics to claim to have read this book? Or any book?
Maybe it starts down the RSL. Some of the veterans are talking about the Vietnam War. You mention that you read somewhere about the effects of post traumatic stress disorder. People are impressed. Then you get carried away. You say you read magazines. You read books. You go to the library. An exaggeration becomes an embellishment. And then it becomes a lie. You can do crosswords.
Analysts suggest that the overwhelming desire to ‘fit in’ and ‘have a culture of our own’ are the primary motivations for this type of self-delusional behaviour, however new research suggests other possible explanations which may be more difficult to detect.
While most people would regard the concoction of fake tales of heroism as reprehensible there is evidence to suggest that some people may simply be seeking employment as speech writers for Donald Trump and [read more…]