Publisher's synopsis

In this award-winning work of fiction, Ellen van Neerven leads readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.

Over three parts, van Neerven 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 is an intriguing collection that heralded the arrival of a major new talent in Australian writing.


  • Winner of the 2013 David Unaipon Award.
  • Winner, 2015, Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists
  • Winner, 2015, Dobbie Literary Award
  • Co-winner, 2016, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards – Indigenous Writer’s Prize
  • Shortlisted, 2015, The Stella Prize
  • Shortlisted, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards (UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing)
  • Shortlisted, Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction
  • Shortlisted, Queensland Literary Awards – Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance
  • Shortlisted, Queensland Literary Awards – Australian Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award
  • Shortlisted, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing
  • Longlisted, 2015, ASAL ALS Gold Medal
  • Commended, 2016, The Kate Challis RAKA Award for Indigenous Fiction