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Local Storyteller Becomes the Story in Duckish

Tom Dawe is one of Newfoundland's literary giants, but you wouldn't say so when you meet him. Humble and soft-spoken, Tom is as unassuming as he is talented.

Born in Long Pond in 1940, Tom was educated in Conception Bay and then Memorial University of Newfoundland, where he eventually would become a full professor. He raised his children right here, and continues to make the Town of Conception Bay South his home today.

He has gifted the province with an incredible collection of poems, stories and art, and he is considered by many to be a master of free verse poetry:

Its apparent simplicity is made possible by a sophisticated command of poetic technique , and deepened by a combination of realistic detail, poignancy of feeling, and a linking of incidents and images which is often magical in its ability to create, suddenly, a haunting new vision of nature and human life... He published his first poem, "The Sculpin," in the Newfoundland Quarterly in 1965, and has remained identified with the literary life of Newfoundland during his entire career, frequently winning prizes for his poetry in the Arts and Letters Competition... He was a founding editor of Newfoundland's premier literary magazine, TickleAce, and one of the co-founders of the publishing imprint, Breakwater Books. (Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador)

Recipient of numerous awards and honours, Tom was named a member of the Order of Canada and also of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2012.

In 2015, his book, An Old Man’s Winter Night: Ghostly Tales appeared with Running the Goat Books and Broadsides, who also published Spirited Away: Fairy Stories of Old Newfoundland in 2017.

When we approached Mr. Dawe about the possibility of adapted his stories for the stage he immediately agreed and has been supportive of the process from the start. On January 15, he and wife Norma met our cast at Worsley Park for the first reading and regaled us with stories from his teaching days, as well as some of the "stories behind the stories" in the play.

Norma and Tom Dawe enjoying a light moment at the TCBS first reading of Duckish: The Ghost and Fairy Stories of Tom Dawe.

The story of a grandmother being "spirited away" by the fairies, for example, is the story of his own great grandmother in the woods of Conception Bay: "My mother was berry picking with her that day and never forgot it, retelling the story many times throughout her life," he says. And the story of the The Woman in the White Dress (who will be making an appearance or two in our play!) recounts the experience of his mother's cousin when she was a child.

No one tells a story like Tom Dawe, and we are honoured to be sharing some of his best ghost and fairy stories in Duckish, an interactive experience sure to remind you of the thrilling, chilling experiences of your childhood, sitting around the wood stove or camp fire and being told tales like "Bloody Bones!"

Enjoy a few minutes of Tom reading from one of his many stories, and be sure to get tickets for Duckish at:

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