B.C. novelist, Carrie Mac, is a unique voice in the world of Young Adult literature. On Friday May 10, Kwantlen Park Creative Commons hosted
Mac as part of their student-author dialogues. Carrie Maac visited our school as part of the International Writers’ Festival Outreach
Program. Mac wowed and inspired the students and teachers with her humour, wit, and honesty.
Background and Inspiration
Carrie Mac’s life and inspiration are neither predictable nor linear. Like many authors, she draws her inspiration from real-life
experiences. In addition to her work as an author, Mac works as an on-call paramedic. This work has often taken her to Vancouver’s
troubled Downtown Eastside.
Her experiences with the residents of the Downtown Eastside exposed her to many different lifestyles and life stories. Throughout her
life, Mac has been drawn to people without a voice; she has worked as a sign-language interpreter, in group homes, in old folks homes,
and in transition homes. She explained that these experiences have made her a curious listener. Students were eager to learn about her
early literary influences (Harriet the Spy, naturally) and were captivated by her unorthodox approach to her writing and her success.
Carrie Mac’s Literary Work
Mac has received numerous awards and accolades for her novels ranging from the Arthur Ellis Award to the White Ravens Outstanding
Award to the Stellar Book Award. Her works typically feature realistic, gritty material; however, her later books delve into science
fiction and fantasy. Many students responded to her presentation and rushed to sign out her books!
The Opposite of Tidy follows fifteen year old Junie and her dysfunctional, hoarding
parents. Junie meets a great guy at school and struggles to hide her home life from her
new school friends.
The Gryphon Project is a science fiction novel based in an alternate. In this scientifically enhances
world, death is no longer a problem for a privileged few. This book follows siblings Phoenix and
Gryphon as they struggle to uncover the unjust nature of their society.
Jacked is an suspenseful, action-packed realistic novel that follows a gas attendant, Zane. One day, during
a seemingly normal shift at work, he is carjacked by a masked gunman and taken hostage. The narrative
follows Jack and his attempts to escape while reluctantly learning more about his disturbed captor.
Pain and Wastings, a pun on the epicentre of the Downtown Eastside, Main and Hastings, follows a young
teen called Ethan. One night, Ethan breaks into an amusement and is attacked by a police dog. He
eventually befriends a paramedic and goes on a number of court ordered, paramedic ride-alongs to the
Downtown Eastside. These experiences force Ethan to come to terms with his past, and make a positive
change to alter his future.
The Beckoners follows Zoe, the new girl in town, and her difficulties navigating a ruthless gang of
female bullies. She is forced to make some very difficult and dangerous decisions as she navigates high
Crush follows Hope, a teenager who is sent to New York to live with her older sister. The sisters travel to
Thailand over the summer and Hope is forced to test her comfort level and come to terms with an
unexpected romantic relationship.
Charmed follows fifteen year old Izzy’s attempts to deal with her absent mother and her mother’s
slovenly boyfriend, Rob. Izzy develops a dangerous relationship with high school dropout, Cody. Izzy is
ensnared in a world of drugs, dealing, and prostitution. The narrative follows her efforts to free herself.
Mac’s newest novel The Droughtlanders, is a major departure in style: this is the first
fantasy novel in a trilogy of three. The Droughtlanders features is a futuristic world
where the world is divided into two: those who control water, the keylanders, and the
destitute, disease-ridden droughtlanders. Mac explains that her inspiration for a
down-trodden rebel group was fueled by the global reaction to the Twin-Tower
bombings. The series follow brothers Eli and Seth Maddox. Books two and three
(Retribution and Storm) follow these young rebels and their efforts to topple the corrupt regime and build a new, more just world.