Is it “mixing” or is it plagiarism?

Jens Schlueter/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

There’s an interesting article in the New York Times about Helene Hegemann’s novel Axolotl Roadkill, a story of a teenage girl exploring Berlin’s drug and club scene after the death of her mother. Apparently, entire pages were lifted from another novel called Strobo by an author writing under the pen name Airen. Hegemann claims she is simply “mixing,” like a DJ would songs, and does not consider it plagiarism. I could understand a word or a phrase, but entire pages lifted from someone else’s novel? That seems a little fishy. I’m curious to see how this pans out. She’s currently #5 on Der Spiegel’s hardcover bestseller list, and she’s up for the coveted $20,000 fiction prize at the Leipzig Book Fair. Has the backlash already played itself out, or will it continue?


In an interview with Cosima Lutz over at Die Welt, Hegemann had the following to say about the accusations of plagiarism: “I don’t see it as stealing because I have used the material in a completely different context which is entirely my own. And I have never pretended that any of this stuff was mine. When people insist on reinterpreting what I have written as the novel of the Noughties, then they have to recognise that the writing process is also a product of its time. This means that whole copyright excess has been replaced by the right to copy and transform.”


~ by Valerie Palmer on February 13, 2010.

One Response to “Is it “mixing” or is it plagiarism?”

  1. […] night I heard Helene Hegemann speak at Skylight books here in LA. If you recall, Hegemann isthe young author who caused a kerfuffle last year with her novel Axolotl Roadkill when it was revealed that she had used an anonymous […]

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