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y separately published work icon Heat and Light single work   novel   fantasy  
Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 Heat and Light
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'In this award-winning work of fiction, Ellen van Neerven takes her readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.'

'Over three parts, she takes traditional storytelling and gives it a unique, contemporary twist. In ‘Heat’, we meet several generations of the Kresinger family and the legacy left by the mysterious Pearl. In ‘Water’, a futuristic world is imagined and the fate of a people threatened. In ‘Light’, familial ties are challenged and characters are caught between a desire for freedom and a sense of belonging.'

'Heat and Light presents an intriguing collection while heralding the arrival of an exciting new talent in Australian writing.' (Publication summary)




  • 'The author’s prose style is spare, carefully wrought and lucid. Van Neervan portrays some wonderful women characters with a deft and sure hand. The plots are beset by tantalising twists and turns, and there is some stunning imagery. There is no doubt that this exciting new author has much potential.' (Judges' comments, The Queensland Literary Awards website 2013)
  • Three thematically linked stories.
  • Other formats: Also large print; sound recording

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Re-Imagining Indigenous Australia through the Short Story : Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven Helena Kadmos , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , November vol. 33 no. 3 2018;

'In 1998 Michelle Grossman’s overview of Indigenous women’s writing explored the significant contribution that life writing had made to the country’s literatures and pondered where younger authors might take Indigenous writing in the twenty-first century. This essay examines the work of one such writer, Ellen van Neerven, whose award-winning collection of stories, Heat and Light (2014), is a work of fiction that draws in part on personal and family stories to offer heterogeneous representations of individuals and families, lovers and friends. Part short story cycle, part long story, part story collection, the text resists easy categorisation. Within its tripartite structure, the sixteen stories are narrated in radically different ways to draw on themes explored before in Australian Aboriginal literature, such as the importance of extended family and belonging, in sometimes new ways, such as through a futuristic vision of Australia. Through a close reading of the text, and discussion that incorporates comments made by Neerven herself, this article suggests that through its varied structures, genres and styles, Heat and Light re-imagines and celebrates the fluid and diverse nature of contemporary Indigeneity.'

Source: Abstract.

'Water' : The SF Alien as a Metaphor for Culture Iva Polak , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Futuristic Worlds in Australian Aboriginal Fiction 2017; (p. 121-133)

'Ellen van Neerven (also known as Ellen van Neerven-Currie) is a young author of Mununjali (Yugambeh) descent (Scenic Rim region, South-East Queensland) with a Dutch father. She is the author of the collection Heat and Light (2014), which won the 2013 David Unaipon Award. Before discussing her SF novella “Water”, which resembles Willmot’s Below the Line in terms of genre, it is worth saying a few words about this young Aboriginal literary voice. In comparison to the career trajectories of earlier generations of Aboriginal writers such as Eric Willmot, Sam Watson, and Alexis Wright – to mention just those discussed in this book – van Neerven’s career may itself seem science fictional. She graduated in 2010 with a degree in Fine Arts majoring in Creative Writing Production, following which she earned a mentorship with the black&write! project. As previously mentioned, this important project launched by the State Library of Queensland in 2010 is meant to mentor new generations of Aboriginal writers and editors. After graduating from this project, van Neerven became a black&write! editor. In 2014 she also produced the first digital anthology of Aboriginal writing, Writing Black: New Indigenous Writing from Australia , which is available to download on iTunes, meaning that her intended readers belong to the digitally savvy generation. As a legitimate new literary star, van Neerven participates in panel discussions at top international universities. As a young writer of the digital generation, she is very much present in the virtual world, making her just a “click away” for anyone who is interested in getting to know this young, yet surprisingly mature storyteller.' (Introduction)

The Fantastic as a Terminological Trickster Iva Polak , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Futuristic Worlds in Australian Aboriginal Fiction 2017; (p. 41-70)

'In the opening pages of The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (1973), Todorov evokes the image of a tiger to draw a parallel between changes in the biological and literary “species”:

Being familiar with the species tiger, we can deduce from it the properties of each individual tiger; the birth of a new tiger does not modify the species in its definition. […] The same is not the case in the realm of art or of science. Here evolution operates with an altogether different rhythm: every work modifies the sum of possible works, each new example alters the species. (6)'  (Introduction)

Utopia and Utopian Studies in Australia Andrew Milner , Verity Burgmann , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Utopian Studies , vol. 27 no. 2 2016; (p. 200-209)
'There are no independently Australian translations of Thomas More’s Utopia. Nor is there any equivalent in Australia to the Society for Utopian Studies in North America or the Utopian Studies Society in Europe. Nor are there any extant formal research groups or undergraduate or graduate courses in utopian studies. There are, however, distinctively Australian traditions of utopian writing, both eutopian and dystopian, and also a limited field of Australian utopian studies, essentially the work of individual scholars. This article attempts a brief description of both.' (Publication summary)
Indigenous Storytelling Has Always Been in Our Blood Susan Wyndham , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 17 March 2016; (p. 2)
Review : Heat and Light David Gaunt , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Books + Publishing , vol. 94 no. 1 2014; (p. 22)

— Review of Heat and Light Ellen van Neerven , 2014 single work novel
Selected Shorts Debra Adelaide , Tony Birch , Carmel Bird , Georgia Blain , Maxine Beneba Clarke , Susan Midalia , Ryan O'Neill , Paddy O'Reilly , Chris Somerville , Maria Takolander , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 364 2014; (p. 52-50)

— Review of Heat and Light Ellen van Neerven , 2014 single work novel ; Captives Angela Meyer , 2014 selected work short story ; Arms Race : And Other Stories Nicolas Low , 2014 selected work short story ; Las Vegas for Vegans A. S. Patrić , 2012 selected work short story ; An Elegant Young Man Luke Carman , 2013 selected work short story ; Tarcutta Wake Josephine Rowe , 2012 selected work short story
Review : Heat and Light A. S. Patrić , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 364 2014; (p. 48)

— Review of Heat and Light Ellen van Neerven , 2014 single work novel
Ellen Van Neervan : Heat and Light Linda Funnell , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Newtown Review of Books , March 2015;

— Review of Heat and Light Ellen van Neerven , 2014 single work novel
Review : Heat and Light Jessica Gildersleeve , 2015 single work
— Appears in: Queensland Review , June vol. 22 no. 1 2015; (p. 102)

— Review of Heat and Light Ellen van Neerven , 2014 single work novel
Ellen's Novel Experience 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 28 August 2013; (p. 12)
High Praise for Young Author Sally Browne , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 15 April 2015; (p. 48)
'At 24, Ellen van Neerven is already receiving recognition locally and internationally for her unique voice...'
Stella Prize 2015: The Shortlisted Authors on the Stories behind Their Books Emily Bitto , Christine Kenneally , Sofie Laguna , Ellen van Neerven , Maxine Beneba Clarke , Joan London , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 17 April 2015;
Graduate with the Write Stuff 2015 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 22 April 2015; (p. 42)
Young Novelists Speak with Original Voices Linda Morris , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 23-24 May 2015; (p. 17) The Canberra Times , 23 May 2015; (p. 13)
Last amended 14 Jun 2018 06:27:11