Rev’d Dr. Anne Van Gend



Falling in Fantasy

A fantasy writer, when creating a world, needs to decide where the source of tension will come from to drive the plot. What has gone wrong that needs to be set right, or what is lost that needs finding? In realistic novels the tension is likely to function on the level of everyday experience, but fantasy throws open the doors to a consideration of problems on a cosmic scale. As such, fantasy works can hold a mirror and lamp to the Christian understandings of the origins of evil, and humanity’s role in its existence.


Anne van Gend is currently the Diocesan Ministry Educator for the Diocese of Dunedin. She has worked in education all her adult life, both as a secondary teacher (South African and Zambia), and in adult education and training for ministry (Australia and New Zealand). Although a devoted Narnian as a child, it was only as an adult that she began exploring the intriguing connections between fantasy works written for a secular audience, and Christian theology. She has a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington in atonement in teenage fantasy books, has been the keynote speaker at ministry conferences in NZ, Australia, the UK and the USA, and is currently writing a book on “re-storying atonement.”