An Indigenous poet and author has been attacked by HSC students online after one of her poems was used in a HSC English exam.
Award-winning writer Ellen van Neerven was subjected to a torrent of abuse yesterday by students who had just finished sitting their HSC English Exams which included her poem Mango from her book of work Comfort Food.
Students were asked in a two point question to “explain how the poet conveys the delight of discovery”.
Some took to Facebook and HSC discussion groups yesterday after the exam and directed abuse at the author.
“We were asked to analyse your mango fucked poem - and I’m asking what the fuck was the point of your mango bullshit,” wrote one student.
Another wrote: "In all honesty there wasn't much to analyse cos (sic) it reads like a 4 year (sic) wrote it."
One post compared van Neerven to a chimpanzee.
Watch Ellen van Neerven reading one of her poems:
Others took to her Wikipedia page and edited it to claim "her poem 'Mango' was used as a weapon of mass destruction by the NSW Education Standards Authority."
Van Neerven has won multiple awards including the David Unaipon Award and the NSW Premier’s literary award.
Authors and others defended her online after the attack, while freelance journalist Ginger Gorman wrote that the students should fail their HSC.