Ellen van Neerven is Mununjali from the Yugambeh language group of South East Queensland on her mother’s side. Her first book, Heat and Light (UQP, 2014), was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Heat and Light was also shortlisted for The Stella Prize, the Queensland Literary Award for State Significance, and the Readings Prize. Ellen was named as a Sydney Morning Herald‘s Best Young Australian Novelist in 2015.
Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry, Comfort Food (UQP, 2016) was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and Highly Commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize.
Until 2016 Ellen was the Managing Editor of black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project at State Library of Queensland. She received the 2017 Queensland Writers Centre Johnno Award and the 2015 Express Media Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Young Person in Literary Arts for her work as editor, mentor and advocate for First Nations writers. She currently lives in Melbourne.