Dr Heather Neilson

Senior Lecturer in English and Media Studies
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 2 62688908
+61 2 62688879


Building 29 Room 213


Heather Neilson has taught in the English and Media Studies program at UNSW@ADFA since 1995. She previously worked at the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia. From 1998 to 2002, she was president of the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association. From July 2002 to July 2005, she was the Australasian representative on the International Committee of the (US-based) American Studies Association. She was the Literary Reviews editor of the Australasian Journal of American Studies (AJAS) from 1996 to 2004, a co-editor of AJAS from 2008 to 2015, and resumed the role of Literary Reviews editor in 2015.


Dr Neilson's research interests are primarily in the area of American studies, particularly fictional and cinematic representations of historical/political events. She also researches in the general area of intertextuality, with a special interest in popular culture adaptations of the classics.

Postgraduate Supervision
  • American literature and culture
  • The novel (primarily British and American)
  • Biography and autobiography

For her Engagement story please click


Neilson HL, 2014, Political Animal: Gore Vidal on Power, Monash University Publishing, Melbourne, http://www.publishing.monash.edu/index.html

Book Chapters

Neilson HL, 2016, 'Owning Anzac Day: _The One Day of the Year_', in ANZAC DAY: Then and Now, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 127 - 140

Neilson HL, 2016, 'Herodotus in Fiction: Gore Vidal's _Creation_', in Priestley J; Zali V (ed.), Brill's Companion to the Receptions of Herodotus in Antiquity and Beyond, edn. Brill's Compnaions to Classical Reception, Brill, Leiden/Boston, pp. 367 - 388

Neilson HL, 2011, 'The Friendly Ghosts of Gore Vidal', in Dobson M; Woodall J (ed.), Where we fell to Earth: Writing for Peter Conrad, edn. Original, Christchurch College, Oxford, Oxford, Great Britain, pp. 196 - 212

Neilson HL, 2010, 'A Companion to Twentieth Century United States Fiction', in Seed D (ed.), Gore Vidal, edn. First, Wiley - Blackwell, Chichester, UK, pp. 403 - 410

Neilson HL, 2000, 'Postcolonial Gothic: Lois-Ann Yamanaka`s Hawai`I', in Interactions: Essays on the Literature and Culture of the Asia-Pacific Region, edn. Original, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, WA, pp. 86 - 96

Neilson HL, 1999, 'The Post-Colonial Child in the Fiction of K.S. Maniam and Lois-Ann Yamanaka', in Impossible Selves: Cultural Readings of Identity, edn. Original, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 93 - 102

Neilson HL, 1995, ''Andre Brink: _A Dry White Season_'', in 2/3 Unit Related English, Pascal Press, Sydney, pp. 158 - 165

Neilson HL, 1992, ''The Fiction of History in Gore Vidal's _Messiah_'.', in Gore Vidal: Writer Against the Grain, Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 106 - 119

Neilson HL, 1983, ''How do you account for Spenser's departure froma conventional trimph at the ending of Book 1 of _The Faerie Queene_?'', in Literature in Context: Research and Writing Essays in English, Shillington House, Melbourne, pp. 38 - 46

Journal articles

Neilson HL, 2013, 'Review of Paul Giles, The Global Remapping of American Literature', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 32, pp. 120 - 123

Neilson HL, 2012, 'Myra in Middle-Age: The Creatrix in her contexts', Journal of American Studies of Turkey, pp. 39 - 66

Neilson HL, 2012, 'Review of Emory Elliott, National Dreams and Rude Awakenings: Essays on American Literature, frm the Puritans to the Postmodern', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 76 - 79

Neilson HL, 2012, 'Teaching African American Literature and Film at the Australian Defence Force Academy', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 31, pp. 53 - 75

Neilson HL, 2011, 'Review of Grant N. Havers' Lincoln and the Politics of Christian Love', The European Legacy, vol. 16, pp. 561 - 562

Neilson HL, 2009, 'Intertextual Lincoln', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 28, No. 2, December 2009, pp. 72 - 78

Neilson HL, 2008, 'Review of Jay Parini (ed) Gore Vidal, Selected Essays', The Canberra Times-Panorama, pp. 17 - 17

Neilson HL, 2008, 'A Theatre of Politics: History`s Actors in Gore Vidal`s Empire', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 73 - 92

Neilson HL, 2007, 'Review of Norman Mailer`s `The Castle in the Forest`', Canberra Times (Panorama section), vol. 31 March, pp. 13 - 13

Neilson HL, 2007, 'Review of Stephen Wright`s `The Amalgamation Polka`', Canberra Times (Panorama section), vol. 24 Feb, pp. 12 - 12

Neilson HL, 2005, 'Contexts of Change', Australian Book Review, vol. 276, pp. 56 - 56

Neilson HL, 2004, 'In Epic Times: Gore Vidal`s Creation Reconsidered', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 23, pp. 21 - 33

Neilson HL, 2000, 'Review of Fred Kaplan, Gore Vidal: A Biography', Panorama, vol. 18 March, pp. 21 - 21

Headon DJ; Neilson HL, 2000, 'Editorship of Special Issue', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 19

Neilson HL, 1999, 'Review of `Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human` by Harold Bloom', Panorama, pp. 24 - 24

Neilson HL, 1999, 'Review of `Seasons of her Life: A Biography of Madeleine Albright` by Ann Blackman', Panorama, vol. 23 January, pp. 22 - 22

Neilson HL, 1999, 'Review of `A Sea Change: Australian Writing and Photography`', Westerly, pp. 127 - 130

Neilson HL, 1998, 'Trials and Triumphs of the Performing Woman', Southerly, pp. 262 - 266

Neilson HL, 1998, 'Indigenous Women Writing in Australia and North America', Australian Women's Book Review, vol. 10, pp. 31 - 33

Neilson HL, 1998, 'Big Words: Issues in American Self-Representation', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 17, pp. 3 - 21

Neilson HL, 1997, 'Jack`s Ghost: Reappearances of John F. Kennedy in the work of Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer', American Studies International, pp. 23 - 41

Neilson HL, 1996, 'Harold Bloom approaches the millenium', Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 15, pp. 45 - 55

Neilson HL, 1996, 'A reflection on the `Culture Wars`: Hrold Bloom, Gore Vidal and the Resistance of the Philistines', Sydney Studies in English, pp. 120 - 135

Neilson HL, 1995, '`Live from Golgotha`: Gore Vidal`s second `fifth gospel`', LINQ, pp. 79 - 91

Conference Papers

Neilson HL, 2012, 'The Great Men of Jay Parini', in The Great Men of Jay Parini, ANZASA, University of Queensland, presented at ANZASA, University of Queensland, 03 July 2012 - 06 July 2012

Neilson HL, 2008, 'Teaching American Studies: Roundtable on Australian Attitudes towards the United States and the American Studies Classroom', in Australasian Journal of American Studies, Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association, Canberra Australia, presented at Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association, Sydney, Australia, 04 July 2008 - 07 July 2008


Giles P; Goodman D (ed.), 2017, Review of Margaret A. Oppenheimer, The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel

Goodman D; Giles P (ed.), 2016, Review of Michael Lackey (ed.), Conversations with Jay Parini, Sydney

Taveira R; Nyerges A (ed.), 2016, Review of Barbara Ryan and Milette Shamir (eds.) Bigger Than Ben-Hur: The Book, Its Adaptations, and Their Audiences, Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association, Sydney

Neilson HL, 2014, Round Table: Pacific Triangles and Australasian American Studies

Neilson HL, 2007, Book Review of Jon Clich `Finn`, Canberra Times

Neilson HL, 2007, Review of Florence Noiville`s `Isaac B. Singer: A Life` (Trans. Catherine Temerson), The Canberra Times

Neilson HL, 2006, Review of Marcie Grank`s `How to be an Intellectual in the Age of Television: the Lessons of Gore Vidal, Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association

Neilson HL, 2006, Introduction to `Forum: regarding Gore Vidal`, Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association

Neilson HL, 2006, Review of Dennis Altman`s Gore Vidal`s America

Harris S (ed.), 2005, Preface, Edwin Mellen Press, NY

Neilson HL, 2000, Review of Fred Kaplan ed., The Essential Gore Vidal

Neilson HL, 1997, Review of Marion Halligan, Collected Stories, Cent Studies Australian Lit

Neilson HL, 1997, Review of Women in the Trees, ed. Susan Koppelman, Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association

Conference Presentations

Neilson HL, 2015, 'The Networks of The Lone Ranger', presented at Literary Conventions, University of Wollongong, 07 July 2015 - 11 July 2015