_MG_7889_photo_by_AnnaJacobsonEvN is at the forefront of an Indigenous literary renaissance, and builds for others to follow. Ellen’s work, on the page and off, echoes across the very architecture of writing in Australia today and will echo long into the future. Alison Whittaker.

Born in Meanjin in 1990, Ellen van Neerven (they/she) is an award-winning writer, editor and educator of Mununjali Yugambeh and Dutch heritage with strong ancestral ties to south east Queensland. They write fiction, poetry and non-fiction, and play football on unceded Turrbal and Yugara land.

van Neerven’s first book, Heat and Light (UQP, 2014), a hybrid fictional text, a mix of speculative fiction and realism, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. 

van Neerven’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.

Throat (UQP, 2020), van Neerven’s latest poetry collection, and recipient of the inaugural Quentin Bryce Award, is now available.

‘SWIM’, a performance piece about water sovereignty and the queer body, featured at the Yellamundie First Peoples Playwriting Festival in Sydney in January 2019, and was part of the QPAC Sparks program in November 2019.

van Neerven graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing at QUT in 2010. After graduating, they completed training as an editor of Indigenous-authored books at the black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project at State Library Queensland and are committed to First Nations-owned publishing futures.

agent: Emma Paterson 

photo credit: Anna Jacobson


  • Upcoming

    Throat on Tour

    May 13   Avid Reader, Brisbane