Ellen van Neerven: Personal Score

Event recorded on 13 June 2023

Award-winning First Nations author Ellen van Neerven discusses their highly anticipated new book, Personal Score, with ABC journalist Sam Lewis.

Ellen van Neerven played football from a young age, learning early on that sport can be a painful and exclusive world. The more they played, the more they realised about sport’s troubled relationship with race, gender and sexuality — and questioned what it means to play sport on stolen, sovereign land, especially in the midst of multiple environmental crises. Weaving memoir, poetry and polemic, Personal Score shines a light on athletes’ ability to challenge mainstream views within, and beyond, the sporting field.

Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage. They write fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction. Ellen’s first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. They have written two poetry collections: Comfort Food, which was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize; and Throat, which was shortlisted in 2021 for the Queensland Literary Awards and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, and won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, the Multicultural NSW Award and Book of the Year in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Ellen also won the Queensland Literary Awards — Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award and the University of Melbourne’s Australian Centre Literary Awards — Peter Blazey Fellowship in 2019. Their latest book is Personal Score.

Sam Lewis (she/they) is a digital sports journalist at the ABC who specialises in Australian women’s football and the women’s game more broadly. They have covered all aspects of the sport from grassroots through to Olympic Games and World Cups, with a particular love of history, profiles, and long-form feature writing. Their work has been published by The Guardian, ESPN, Optus Sport, and SBS, and recognised by organisations including The International Sports Press Association. They live and work on Gadigal land in Sydney.

This event was presented in association with the Library’s exhibitions Pride (R)evolution and Koori Knockout: 50 years.