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Newfoundland Launch Brings Young Author Home


Kenneth Tam was happy to return to his native Newfoundland last week, but his trip to the Atlantic province wasn’t simply a vacation. Tam was in St. John’s to launch the pocket paperback editions of his Equations Novels on Thursday, May 5, at the Johnson GEO CENTRE, and to introduce his hometown to the writing endeavors he has undertaken since leaving home.

“It was a great privilege to be able to bring these books home, as at the core I find they have a lot to do with what I call the ‘Newfoundland spirit’,” Tam explains. “We had a great crowd at the GEO CENTRE, and I look forward to interacting with Newfoundland readers in the years to come.”

The Equations novels, now being distributed in Newfoundland through The Downhomer, are epic science fiction adventures set over 700 years in the future and featuring a non-human race of enlightened beings known as Earthers, as well as humans and other aliens.

“It sounds pretty out-there, I know,” Tam remarks, “but people tend to realize fairly quickly that the stories are just about good people trying to deal with a problem — whether those people happen to look like us or not. The response has been great because of that.”

While Tam’s week in Newfoundland focused in part on the GEO CENTRE event, the young author also worked under the Iceberg Publishing Author in the Classroom program, visiting a number of high school classes around St. John’s and Conception Bay South to talk to students about writing.

“I got my start on the Equations in the summer before Grade 10,” Tam explains, “so one of my goals as a writer is to inspire other young people to write, and to keep writing as they move through school.”

Along with the high school visits, Tam ran a day-long writing workshop for a select group of students at Villanova Junior High in Manuels. Tam took the students through creative activities, and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. “I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better group,” he says with a smile. “Everyone there was incredibly talented, and some of the things they were coming up with blew me away. I look forward to being able to go back next year and to deal with more students, and to meet with some from that group again.”

Tam says that plans are being made for a 2006 return to the St. John’s area, with more workshops and school visits. “The schools have expressed interest in having me back, and I’d hate to disappoint,” he explains. Details have yet to be set, but they’ll be released on the Iceberg Publishing website as they develop.

The month of May is a busy one for Tam; he heads west to Alberta later this month, the province he and his family moved to from Newfoundland, to visit classes at his old school and to hold a small event there. After the Alberta event, Tam will take a break until July, when he’ll return to Toronto Trek 19, Canada’s largest science fiction event, as an Author Guest, and will launch his fourth Equations novel, The Earther Equation.