When Helen Hegemann, 17, from Germany became a finalist in a literary competition, she was heralded as a breath of fresh air and a new literary genius by the media and readers. Her work was so impressive that her book "Axolotl Roadkill" was in the top 5 bestseller list of Spiegel's. It was not long however, before other wide readers began to question the originality of her content. References and evidences of Hegemann's plagiarism of an original piece of fiction writing by Airen entitled "Strobo" was discovered by blogger Deef Pirmasens. He presented evidence of plagiarism with passages and whole pages taken from the story "Strobo".
In an interview with Nicholas Kulish of The New York Times published on February 11, 2010, the young author was unrepentant. Basing her defense on the stand that writers all throughout time have mixed their literary content with the works of other authors. Therefore, she claims she did not perform an act of plagiarism. However, after the page in question, it appears that she took the work of the original author ad verbatim without citing due reference within the page or in a reference page. Thus falling under the definition of plagiarism.
Even after apologizing for the plagiarism she had committed in order to settle down the uproar from the traditional Berlin literary circle, she still remains steadfast in the belief that "there is no such thing as originality, only authenticity." Yet these proven charges of plagiarism have only served to add to the interest in the book and the celebrity of the author. Book sales for "Axolotl" has kept it in 9th place on the German amazon.com website. Even with the negative publicity cropping up, people are interested in buying Hegemann's work together with Strobo by Airen. In this case, plagiarism seems to have become a win-win situation for both authors.