'The brothers Kovalenko...did not kill Jews just because they were poor and Ukrainian, and did not know any better. They killed Jews because they believed that they themselves were savages.'
'The Hand that Signed the Paper tells the story of Vitaly, a Ukrainian peasant, who endures the destruction of his village and family by Stalin's communism. He welcomes the Nazi invasion in 1941 and willingly enlists in the SS Death Squads to take a horrifying revenge against those he perceives to be his persecutors.
'This remarkable novel, a shocking story of the hatred that gives evil life, is also an eloquent plea for peace and justice.' (Publication summary)
'Recent scandals in Australian non-fiction have highlighted publishers’ responsibilities not only to their readers but to their authors’ subjects. But is a failure of fact-checking solely to blame? Or are there further hidden risks in the way these revelations are reported?' (Introduction)
'This article argues that some Australian fiction promotes a unique stance in regards to the Holocaust and the Third Reich. Reading Helen Demidenko/Darville's The Hand that Signed the Paper and James McQueen's White Light, I show that a cultural naivety exists in Australia, forged due to historical and cultural influences played out since the Second World War. These factors have influenced the country's memorialization of, and responses to, the Holocaust and the period's ensuing after-effects, as exampled in these two pieces of Australian fiction.'
'Multiculturalism, introduced in Australia after the Whitlam Labor Government came to power in 1972, represented a significant shift in government policy. The White Australia policy, introduced on federation in 1901, had effectively barred non-white immigration for the last seventy years of the young nation’s history, and twenty-three years of unbroken conservative rule ensured that the nation retained its cultural identity as British, despite the large numbers of non-British and non-English speaking migrants who arrived after the Second World War. Multiculturalism, initially a policy framework focusing on issues of social justice affecting Australia’s postwar migrant communities, gradually entered other fields, and the 1980s saw vigorous debates about its place in the area of cultural production. In recent decades, the Australian nation has become increasingly diverse both ethnically and linguistically, but we have also seen a backlash against the policy of multiculturalism in some segments of the population. Multicultural literature, generally defined as writing by Australian writers of non-indigenous, ethnic minority background, has often found itself at the center of heated debates about cultural and literary legitimacy, debates that inevitably have affected how literature is studied and taught in Australian schools and universities. Ironically, the very fact that this writing has come to embody so many of the tensions and contradictions in contemporary Australian culture makes it an ideal teaching tool : as a reflection of social and cultural relations, as a catalyst for discussion of how cultural production is framed and received, as a lightning rod for paradoxes surrounding writing from cultural minorities in national and global contexts.’ (Introduction)