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Megan Coles, Our Eliza playwright, Savage Cove native wins 2014 BMO Winterset Award for first novel

Megan Coles, “Our Eliza” playwright, Savage Cove native wins BMO Winterset Award for first novel, “Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome”. This is quite an accomplishment!

Savage Cove has fewer than 200 residents. A collective of communities make up the Straits, where all students from Eddies Cove to Anchor Point go to Canon Richards Memorial Academy at Flower’s Cove. I went to high school with Megan. She always possessed creative talents, whether in poems, scripts or short skits. I would think the road to the arts is not always an easy choice, even for those who have incredible skill. Megan is a person who has remained steadfast and committed to pursuing her passion for the pen and paper. It brings great pride that she is from the Great Northern Peninsula. She is such a role model for budding young artists in the region, across the province and country!


Megan Coles (left) graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National Theatre School of Canada. She later co-founded the Poverty Cove Theatre Company, producing her amazing play “Our Eliza” and bringing it home to the Great Northern Peninsula. My sister and I went to see it before the tour at the opening night in the Barbara Barrett basement theatre at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre. Megan has since launched other plays and continues to be involved with writers guilds and groups to advance the profession from her home in St. John’s, NL.

On December 9th, I recognized Megan Coles for her literary talents from her first book along with storyteller Earl B. Pilgrim and children’s writer,Gina Noordhof in the House of Assembly in a Private Member’s Statement.

This week, Megan’s win of the 2014 BMO Winterset Award for her book, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome showcases the talent of this young writer, especially given this was her first book. The award is the province’s richest literary prize, at $10,000 and has a special ceremony at Government House. The two other 2014 award finalists were Michael Crummey for Sweetland​, and Alan Doyle for Where I Belong.

Megan is currently working on a trilogy of plays examining resource exploitation in Newfoundland and Labrador, The Driftwood Trilogy: Falling Trees, Building Houses, and Wasting Paper. I encourage you to get a copy of her book and support her current and future work.

We have incredible stories that must be shared, especially from the Great Northern Peninsula. Our greatest resource is no doubt our people. Megan Coles is one of our own, deserving of these accolades and will continue to shine throughout her artistic career.

Keep being true to your rural roots and I look forward to your future literary works. Your story is motivating and inspiring! #SupportTheArts

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

We all have stories to tell…

We all have stories to tell. We share them with our friends, family and even the world through the social media. There is a time and space for this type of art form. I use my blog as a forum to share knowledge of culture, people, landscapes, business, heritage and history of the Great Northern Peninsula.  Our way of life has been viewed by nearly 180 countries world-wide and edging closer to 200,000 views. I may not have the talents of my grandfather Mitchelmore for storytelling, but I do my best to convey what is truly authentic to rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

This past weekend, my sister and I had a unique opportunity to be in the audience at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre and were spectators to a performance scripted by a local playwright, Megan Coles.

Our Eliza is real – authentic. A true depiction of what life was like growing up in rural Newfoundland & Labrador not so long ago. It is masterfully crafted – capturing the audience from the first soundbite as it works its way through a powerful coming of age story. One exuding Newfoundland humour and wit, colourful language and actions that will keep you wanting more, long after the curtain closes. Our Eliza is the type of story that must be told beyond centre stage, it should be shared with Outport Newfoundland & Labrador – one of which we can all reflect upon as to who we truly are as a people – a society.                                                                                                 -Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA

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When I picked up my tickets at the box office, I was asked my address. I responded, “Green Island Cove”. The person asked where that was and I said, “The Great Northern Peninsula”. She said, I will be in for a real treat with tonight’s showing and that it has been getting great reviews from those in attendance. This certainly raised my expectations, especially since Friday and Saturday night’s performances had sold out.

The very first soundbite set the stage of framing for the audience the hardship the moratorium would have on our way of life in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Actors Greg Malone (Author of “Don’t Tell The Newfoundlanders”), Joel Thomas Hynes and Renee Hackett turned the clock back more than twenty years and had us reminiscing only in the stories our parents and grandparents could had told us. Our Eliza, is the typical Newfoundland girl, who becomes a woman and the glue that kept many of us together especially when times got tough. The modest, yet powerful story that lasted about 1 hour and half was filled with humour, wit and antics in which I could easily relate. I do not want to give away the story-line  I want you to go experience it for yourself.

These talents have engaged in putting our culture, our life experiences into performance, which brings together many art forms. We can all learn something about our roots and the role in which space plays in it. I took a Newfoundland Society & Culture, in which I learned much about community order and our every day space. It was pleasing to hear writer and co-producer Megan Coles, and co-producer Shannon Hawes, founders of The Poverty Cove Theatre Company open the show highlighting the minimalism utilized in staging, as well as the desire to be able to tell this story in non-conventional spaces. On March 2 & 3, the performance has found a home in the Library of the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre. You can purchase tickets at

Thank you Megan Coles for sharing with us your creative talents and all those involved with the current production. You have made Our Eliza, a part of all of us. I only hope this story gets told throughout rural Newfoundland & Labrador where it can be at home, especially the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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