M.A.C. Farrant (Marion Alice Coburn Farrant)
Marion Alice Coburn Farrant (M.A.C. Farrant), writer (born at Sydney Australia, 5 April 1947). M.A.C. Farrant was raised in Victoria, BC and studied at the UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA and SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY. She describes herself as an "anthropologist of the absurd." Her first collection of SHORT FICTION, Sick Pigeon (1991), was widely praised and shortlisted for both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and a BC Book Prize. Farrant's evocative and playful language describes the pain and silences inherent in marginalized existences. This configuration of humour and irony, dark subject and comic treatment is seen throughout all her works.
Word of Mouth (1996) was Farrant's first novella, drawing on her previous careers as a social worker and an accountant. Each of the two sections presents three stories. The first section is told by a plucky mother living in POVERTY and waiting each month for her social assistance cheque. The second is narrated by Sybilla, who reveals her life without any of the graces of fiction's arc; she grimly presents the unadorned facts of brutal group homes and crumbling social housing projects, which are presented as her natural surroundings. Farrant's acute ear for contextualized voices makes Word of Mouth powerful and direct.
Girls Around The House (1999) is a collection of linked short stories presenting Marion and Gerry, two hippy parents, and their two children. Set in Sidney BC, both parents are presented as lovable and liberally minded enough to be open to the antics of their late adolescents, ranging from hair gel consumption to junk food overdoses. This work reveals Farrant's ability to effectively blend satire and absurdity in fresh new ways, to make ordinary life seem honorably worthwhile.
My Turquoise Years (2004) is M.A.C. Farrant's memoir of growing up in the 1960s. Redolent of the age of turquoise - cars, curtains and coffee tables - Farrant's 14th summer is forever changed when her mother sends her lacy underwear from Australia. Farrant's extended family figures prominently, as do her girlhood friends and warm afternoons spent on west coast beaches. In 2013 Vancouver's Arts Club Theatre presented a stage adaptation of My Turquoise Years.
Farrant's numerous books and chapbooks present characters aslant their surroundings. Often writing in fragments or short pieces, sometimes as brief as one line, she presents characters who are puzzled by but open to their future as they grapple with the present, often exploring a discomfort with modern culture. Farrant's witty cynicism and satire never slip into despair or desperation.
M.A.C. Farrant's novel The Strange Truth About Us (2011) presents 115 numbered short fragments denoting the life of a newly retired couple living in a new gated community. Nostalgia mixes with threatening irony in the fanciful naming of streets like "Robin Hood Crescent," set against fort-like electric fences topped with barbed wire: "We attempt to express the universal confusion of mind that is the main feature of contemporary life. Which is? We are afraid."
M.A.C. Farrant has written for television and reviews fiction for the Vancouver Sun and the GLOBE AND MAIL. Her stories have been widely anthologized and she is a regular contributor to LITERARY MAGAZINESGeist and Prism International. Farrant has also taught writing at the University of Victoria and served as visiting writer-in-residence at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She lives in North Saanich, BC.