She has worked in various jobs, mainly teaching and waitressing. She married a Greek migrant, Christos Talihmanidis, in 1965. They were married for thirteen years, three of which were spent in Greece. They returned to Australia for their son to be born in 1972.
Best known for her novels and short stories, Farmer has also written essays, poetry, reviews and criticism. Her writing has been published in several magazines, journals and newspapers, including Overland, Westerly, Meanjin, Island Magazine, and The Bulletin.
Loss features as a central theme in Farmer’s stories. She has described it as the ‘touchstone’ of her work. The ‘experience of being foreign’ is also a favourite subject.