'In this award-winning work of fiction, Ellen van Neerven takes her readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.'
'Over three parts, she 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 presents an intriguing collection while heralding the arrival of an exciting new talent in Australian writing.' (Publication summary)
'In 1998 Michelle Grossman’s overview of Indigenous women’s writing explored the significant contribution that life writing had made to the country’s literatures and pondered where younger authors might take Indigenous writing in the twenty-first century. This essay examines the work of one such writer, Ellen van Neerven, whose award-winning collection of stories, Heat and Light (2014), is a work of fiction that draws in part on personal and family stories to offer heterogeneous representations of individuals and families, lovers and friends. Part short story cycle, part long story, part story collection, the text resists easy categorisation. Within its tripartite structure, the sixteen stories are narrated in radically different ways to draw on themes explored before in Australian Aboriginal literature, such as the importance of extended family and belonging, in sometimes new ways, such as through a futuristic vision of Australia. Through a close reading of the text, and discussion that incorporates comments made by Neerven herself, this article suggests that through its varied structures, genres and styles, Heat and Light re-imagines and celebrates the fluid and diverse nature of contemporary Indigeneity.'
'Ellen van Neerven (also known as Ellen van Neerven-Currie) is a young author of Mununjali (Yugambeh) descent (Scenic Rim region, South-East Queensland) with a Dutch father. She is the author of the collection Heat and Light (2014), which won the 2013 David Unaipon Award. Before discussing her SF novella “Water”, which resembles Willmot’s Below the Line in terms of genre, it is worth saying a few words about this young Aboriginal literary voice. In comparison to the career trajectories of earlier generations of Aboriginal writers such as Eric Willmot, Sam Watson, and Alexis Wright – to mention just those discussed in this book – van Neerven’s career may itself seem science fictional. She graduated in 2010 with a degree in Fine Arts majoring in Creative Writing Production, following which she earned a mentorship with the black&write! project. As previously mentioned, this important project launched by the State Library of Queensland in 2010 is meant to mentor new generations of Aboriginal writers and editors. After graduating from this project, van Neerven became a black&write! editor. In 2014 she also produced the first digital anthology of Aboriginal writing, Writing Black: New Indigenous Writing from Australia , which is available to download on iTunes, meaning that her intended readers belong to the digitally savvy generation. As a legitimate new literary star, van Neerven participates in panel discussions at top international universities. As a young writer of the digital generation, she is very much present in the virtual world, making her just a “click away” for anyone who is interested in getting to know this young, yet surprisingly mature storyteller.' (Introduction)
'In the opening pages of The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (1973), Todorov evokes the image of a tiger to draw a parallel between changes in the biological and literary “species”:
Being familiar with the species tiger, we can deduce from it the properties of each individual tiger; the birth of a new tiger does not modify the species in its definition. […] The same is not the case in the realm of art or of science. Here evolution operates with an altogether different rhythm: every work modifies the sum of possible works, each new example alters the species. (6)' (Introduction)