Award-winning writer Ellen van Neervan is HC Coombs fellow

Ellen van Neervan Pic Credit: Anna Jacobson

Ellen van Neervan Pic Credit: Anna Jacobson

The HC Coombs Creative Arts Indigenous Fellowship recipient Ellen van Neervan is an award-winning writer, educator and editor of Mununjali and Dutch heritage who lives on Yagera and Turrbal Country. Among Ellen’s published works include Heat and Light, Comfort Food, Throat and Personal Score: Sport, Culture, Identity.

As an HC Coombs fellow, Ellen will be in residency for eight weeks starting in September 2023 and will work on an archival mapping poetry collection titled ‘KWEENSLAND’.

“I am thrilled to receive this prestigious fellowship. I feel inspired and excited to create new work,” Ellen said.

During their residency, Ellen will be involved in readings, talks and events, and will engage with staff and students at the Tjabal Centre and Centre for Aboriginal Economic Research and the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics.

Ellen’s latest book Personal Score: Sport, Culture, Identity came out in May 2023. “I draw inspiration from a variety of sources for my work which includes other Indigenous writers, visual art and conversations I have with friends and relatives. Above all, though, it is about understanding Country and the multilayers of history and time,” Ellen said.

During their stay in Canberra, Ellen is looking forward to having dedicated time for their archival poetry mapping project ‘KWEENSLAND’ and a dedicated space to work every day.

“When I am not in the stages of writing, in the library deep in research mode, or yarning with staff and students, I plan to go on walks and bike rides and enjoy the beautiful Country. The Australian National University (ANU) is in the perfect location,” Ellen said.

I will be taking advantage of the research facilities on offer at ANU and broader Canberra to bring my vision to life and be open to the creative discoveries on the way.”

In October, Ellen is looking forward to talking about and reading from their published work to date at a public event.

Established in 1964 at the instigation of ANU Pro-Chancellor Dr HC Coombs, the residency program aims to encourage creative work and is open to all kinds of artists, from ceramicists and printmakers to novelists.

Last year’s Fellows - artist, writer, and curator Dr Julie Gough and pianist and composer Andrea Keller – were the first recipients to enjoy campus life following the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.