A literary practical joke, the Ern Malley Hoax was perpetrated by James McAuley and Harold Stewart in 1944 in Australia. At that time Max Harris, publisher of Angry Penguins, a journal of modern poetry, received a collection of poems with a note from "Ethel Malley" who claimed they had been written by her recently deceased brother, Ern. Harris published the poems and hailed the verses as great examples of Australian poetry.
It was soon revealed, however, that the poems had been compiled by McAuley and Stewart as a protest against modern poetry, which they considered meaningless and pretentious. These nonsense verses would have attracted little attention had not Harris and other editors persisted in their claim that the poems had great literary merit. Further attention was forthcoming when the Australian police then claimed the poems were obscene, with the result that Harris was prosecuted and fined.