Born in Long Pond, Manuels, Conception Bay, Dawe has written poetry and children's literature for many years. He is also a visual artist. His work often draws on folklore, mythology, autobiography, and Newfoundland culture, particularly the experience of growing up in a Newfoundland outport community.
Dawe was a founding member of Breakwater Books, the province's first publishing house. He was also a co-founder of TickleAce magazine, and an editor of the folklore publication The Livyer. Dawe also taught English at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His work is the subject of Rewriting Newfoundland Mythology: The Works of Tom Dawe, by Martina Seifert.
- "Appointments to the Order of Canada". Governor General of Canada.
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