The literary hoax may be turning into a uniquely Australian art form. Less than a year after the winner of the prestigious Miles Franklin award was exposed as a fraud, another top Australian author has come under scrutiny. Donina Williams' Nobody Nowhere, a harrowing autobiographical account of her struggle with autism, spent a year on the New York Times top 10 list, has been translated into 14 languages and shortlisted for literary awards. But experts now allege she may not be autistic. Williams, 32, has gone into hiding in the wake of the allegations and has refused to give media interviews. Jacqueline Roberts, director of services for the New South Wales Autistic Association, said Williams' ability to write about her condition was 'not typical of people with autism'. Dr Chris Eipper, Williams' university lecturer in 1985 and 1986, said he knew her then as 'astute, articulate, shrewd and worldly wise', adding she was very different from the person she now represented herself to be. He doubted her autism and called for a public explanation. Autism, a rare developmental disorder, is usually detected before the age of three. Its symptoms include a lack of social skills, poor expressive and language skills and obsessive behaviour. In a statement issued through her publishers, Williams denied fabricating her condition, and claimed to suffer from 'allergy-induced autism'. Williams' flight into hiding mirrors the actions last year of Helen Darville, who, as Helen Demidenko, won the 1995 Miles Franklin award. Darville was ridiculed for fabricating an elaborate Ukranian ancestry in her purportedly semi-autobiographical novel, The Hand that Signed the Paper. In the 1980s, another Australian writer, Haul Ralley, won the Vogel award by claiming to be the author of Jack Rivers And Me . He later admitted that the book was written by his uncle.