North Saanich author Marion Farrant’s work The World Afloat has won the $5,000 Victoria Butler Book Prize.
A collection of 75 stories, ranging from a few pages to just a single paragraph, The World Afloat was announced as the winning entry during an Oct. 15 gala at the Union Club.
“It was kind of thrilling,” Farrant said, noting the authors up for the prize did not know who was going to win. Farrant calls The World Afloat “an inevitable result” of the things she has been working on for a while.
“I attempted to write 75 short stories with elements of that genre, as well as that of prose and humour,” she explained.
“I played with a non-genre form with these stories.”
The juror’s citation for The World Afloat notes “each macro-story … is deftly captured with grave, humour and enviable creativity. It is the book any writer wished she wrote, that inspires any reader to pick up her pen and give it a go.”
Farrant said she was guided by a quite from a poet — “Be brief and tell us everything.”
“I really tried to do this in each of the stories.”
The stories in The World Afloat, she continued, follow a particular pattern but do not have to be read one following the other. Farrant said each can be reach on its own. In the book, Farrant “interrupts everyday routine … with intensely surreal, frothy moment that help keep chins up and thrust bravely forward,” stated the Butler Book Prize judges.
Farrant said her last work — The World Afloat is her 13th book — The Strange Truth About Us: A Novel of Absence, was steeped in the doom and gloom of modern times. She said The World Afloat is an antidote to that.
“Sometimes we tend to feel guilty about being happy,” she said. “Laughs and humour are vital to keep going.”
The Butler Book Price win offers her work plenty of exposure since its release in mid-February this year. Farrant said it has been receiving great reviews and “has a bit of life” to it.
Next on the horizon for Farrant is a new book — a companion to The World Afloat.
“I’m not really finished having fun with it yet.”
Farrant said her new book is about half-done and expects it to be out in a couple years.