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Carrie Mac

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Carrie Mac httpskpcreativecommonsfileswordpresscom2013
Awards  Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Juvenile Crime Book
Books  The Beckoners, The Droughtlanders, The Opposite of Tidy, Pain & Wastings, The Gryphon Project

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Carrie Mac (born February 25, 1975) is a Canadian author and illustrator specializing in young adult (YA) fiction. She is a winner of the CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize, the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize, and the Arthur Ellis Award, as well as various other awards and recognitions.


Although known for her YA writing, Mac also writes adult fiction, leads writing workshops for adults and youth, and contributes to literary journals. She is also the resident writer/reader for The Story Forest, a collection of audio stories for children.

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Early life, education, and employment

Mac was born in Kamloops, British Columbia. During her childhood and youth, Mac lived in Vancouver, Grand Forks, Abbotsford and on the Sunshine Coast.

Mac's first job, at age seven, was to read the Bible to an ex-Son of Freedom; she was paid a quarter a page. Mac dropped out of high school in Grade eleven, completing her secondary education by correspondence. She trained as a paramedic at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Mac also worked at various times as a sign language interpreter, a bookstore clerk, and a child and youth advocate in a transition house.

Influences and inspiration

A self-confessed book-aholic, Mac credits Louise Fitzhugh, author of Harriet the Spy, with the realization of "what kind of power words carry, and how they can be used to sharpen your own identity and injure others." Other influences include: Anne Cameron, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro. Mac explains that Raymond Carver showed her that "the lives of working class people (my people) are filled with stories worth writing about too, and that you don't need to go on and on and on and on to relate human emotions when you can nail it down so adroitly with less."

Writing for reluctant readers

Pain and Wastings, Jacked, Charmed, and Crush were written for Orca Book Publisher for the Soundings Series. The Soundings series is written specifically for reluctant or difficult to engage readers, also known as hi-lo readers (high interest, low reading level). It features contemporary themes, often including what might be considered controversial material and language.

Portrayal of queer characters

All of Mac's YA novels have queer, gay or questioning characters. She says of her work "I know for myself that I can't leave queer characters out of my writing, even if they're gay and only I know it, or I don't spell it out."

Critical reception

Quill and Quire describe Mac as a "powerhouse" and her novel The Opposite of Tidy as "irresistible and not to be missed." C.J. Bott, in VOYA, said of The Beckoners, "The powerful intensity in this book will either keep the reader riveted or forced to take breaks from the haunting discomfort."

"Mac's experience as a paramedic gives her portrayal of their work an easy authority, and she sketches Ethan and his group home with a certain amount of precision and humour. The fluidity of the storytelling, as well as the dramatic circumstances of the story, are likely to attract Orca Soundings readers."

Mac's book Charmed, about a girl who is trapped into prostitution, was banned by the Plano Independent School District in Texas, in 2006/2007. The book "was challenged due to profanity, sexual content and violence." However, according to Dave Jenkinson, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba, "Mac's authentic treatment of her subject matter carries through to the book's conclusion… Charmed is the gold standard of what hi-lo titles can be. Highly Recommended."

Personal life

Mac lives in Vancouver with her partner and their children. She is a queer mom and attachment parent.


  • Triskelia trilogy:
  • The Droughtlanders (2006)
  • Retribution (2007)
  • Storm (2008)
  • Standalone works:
  • The Beckoners (2004)
  • The Gryphon Project (2010)
  • The Opposite of Tidy (2011)
  • Closer to Fine (scheduled release Spring 2017)
  • Orca Soundings:
  • Charmed (2004)
  • Crush (2006)
  • Pain and Wastings (2008)
  • Jacked (2009)
  • Awards

  • Canadian Council for the Arts grants (2000, 2003, 2004 & 2008)
  • Arthur Ellis Award: Best Young Adult Crime Book (2005)
  • Canadian Library Association Honour Book (2005)
  • International Children's and Youth Literature White Raven list (2005) for The Beckoners
  • International Reading Association Young Adult Choices list (2006) for The Beckoners
  • Sunburst Award shortlist in young-adult category (2007) for The Beckoners and (2008) for Retribution
  • Stellar Book Award nomination (2009) for The Droughtlanders
  • Sheila A. Egoff Book Prize (2010) for The Beckoners
  • Canadian Library Association Young-Adult Honor Book selection (2010) for The Gryphon Project.
  • CBC Non-fiction Literary Prize (2015)
  • References

    Carrie Mac Wikipedia

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