It was a presentation that was 43 years in the making.
For author Tom Moore, it was important to present a copy of his new book, The Sign on My Father’s House, to Clarenville Mayor Frazer Russell.
He had done the exact same thing 43 years ago with his debut novel, Good-Bye Momma.
As a teacher in Clarenville at the time, Moore wrote his first book. He told The Packet there were no books at that time about growing up in Newfoundland.
“It was my first year teaching,” Moore explains. “I came here to teach literature and I found there was no story written about a little boy or girl growing up in Newfoundland.
“My students were reading books about little boys in Toronto, New York, (and) the problems they faced.”
So he decided to write one.
He presented the mayor at the time, Lloyd Thompson, with a copy of Good-Bye Momma and dedicated it to his students in Clarenville.
Moore went on to teach in areas like White Bay, Baie Verte, St. Mary’s Bay and Avondale.
He calls his new book a sequel to his first.
“It’s about growing up in Newfoundland but the young character in the first book progresses to go to university, fall in love, gets his heart broke – normal things about growing up and life.
“It’s about growing up in Newfoundland but it’s also about Newfoundland growing up, because it’s set in Newfoundland during the (Premier Joseph) Smallwood era.”
He adds many at the time were happy to be new Canadians, but many were not – referencing the titular sign on the roof of the house.
He says it means a lot to him to be able to return to Clarenville with his new book.
Who is Tom Moore?
Tom Moore was born in St. John’s in 1950.
His first novel, Good-Bye Momma became a Canadian best seller. It was chosen as a “Children’s Choice” by the Children’s Book Centre in Toronto and was translated into Danish by Monksgaard publishers of Copenhagen in 1982. It was later translated into Romanian by Cite Libra publishers. The CBC produced a radio play version broadcast nationally. The Canadian Book of Lists called it one of the 10 best children’s books in Canada.
In 1994, Angels Crying became Moore’s second national best seller. It is the true story of his student, a sexual assault victim. It has become a case study for a number of university schools of social work, including Memorial University, Dalhousie University, College of the North Atlantic, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. It was translated into Chinese by New Sprouts publishers of Taipei in 2002.
In 2000, The Plains of Madness, a work of historic fiction, won the inaugural Percy Janes award for best novel manuscript in Newfoundland.
His short story The Sign on my Father’s House was published as a winning entry in Canadian Storyteller, Toronto, in the summer of 2004.