Understand Newfoundland

When Rachel O’Brien arrives in Twig,she’s an outsider who’s about to learn many things about the province she’ll call home for a year. For example, how to pronounce it.


Despite the straightforward spelling, it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s not New Found Land, no matter where you put the emphasis.

As Rachel discovers, it’s pronounced to rhyme with understand, but with a slight soft slurring of the middle syllable so that it sounds like fun.

Rachel mispronounced it back in the ’80s but the debate still goes on today. In fact, Mindy Kaling tweeted about it earlier this year.

It’s serious stuff. Get it right, or else…


The Day (New London, Connecticut)



Twig: Population 189

The setting for my novel is a fictional town in Newfoundland. I made up Twig but you couldn’t make up other place names in Newfoundland – Conception Bay, Come By Chance, Joe Batt’s Arm, Foxtrap and Goobies to mention a few:

I chose the name Twig because it represented something small, dull and dead – mirroring the initial impressions of the town formed by my protagonist, the newly arrived Rachel O’Brien. Conversely a twig can also be a young shoot; a living, growing organism, reflecting Rachel’s changing views about the town as time passes.

Or at least that’s the pretentious literary-babble explanation I put in my MA dissertation. Mostly I chose the name Twig because it popped into my head and I liked it. I hope you will too.