Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you were hearing the name Megan Gail Coles all 2015 long, for the streak of award recognition she earned with her book Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome.

She’s now at the helms of Riddle Fence – the province’s nationally renowned literary journal (whose full gloss pages also house a lot of local visual art alongside its short stories, poems, criticisms, and essays). Not only is Coles a good fit for her new role as executive director of Riddle Fence, she’s pretty pumped about Riddle Fence’s future too.

Why are you happy to be taking over as ED?

I’m delighted. I genuinely believe in the necessity of the publication and am properly convinced that a journal of this calibre is integral to a healthy and progressive arts and culture community. We have enthusiastic new additions to our Arts Editorial Board and the Board of Directors, working in tandem to ensure the journal is an inclusive part of the province’s arts and culture dialogue.

We want the fisherman from Joe Batts Arm to read a poem. The nurse in Norris Point to enjoy a short story. I want my Nan to tell me that’s a fit picture. Or an unfit picture. The point is: I want her to see the picture. Have the opportunity to see it. I want us all to experience and discuss our arts and culture as a group. Whatever your opinion is, Riddle Fence welcomes it.

Why should people be reading this thing anyway?

Some of the most exciting and innovative new work is published in arts and culture journals. Journals are not tied to the same posts. They’re not confined. It’s a very liberating read. And it’s important. Riddle Fence allows emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their work alongside established artists. This lends a level discoverability to the new work that is integral to emerging artistic talent.

I know how vital it is to have peers champion and support your creative development. I understand this process innately as a writer and take the evolution of our community very seriously. And I’m a hybrid; a modern rural & urban Newfoundlander. So the position as the journal’s ED is somewhat ideal for me. Riddle Fence is striving for unbridled excellence. That is what we’re after.

The Arts Editors in fiction, poetry, and visual art are committed to selecting the finest work from home and beyond to contextualize the outstanding artistic merit throughout our province and country. I’ll admit this unified approach is not utterly magnanimous. Better work makes all work better. Because mediocrity breeds mediocrity. So this also pushes me forward artistically. We’re very good here. Our art is very good here in NL. But we could be great. So let’s be that. I want us to be great.

What separates Riddle Fence from other literary mags?

Riddle Fence is dead sexy. From content selection to design layout to execution and distribution; it is a hot little publication.

Tell us about the new contests, and when submissions are welcome

We’ve recently partnered with the Leaside Group to establish a cache of prizes in poetry, short fiction, and visual art to be awarded in the fall. The deadline for submissions is September 15th. Details concerning submissions can be found on our website riddlefence.com.

Why partner with leaside group on the new awards?

Leaside believes in preserving our architectural heritage. The connections between our shared structural heritage and our arts and culture community are indivisible. These are interwoven moving parts in the fabric of our society and Riddle Fence wants to respect and protect them.

We want to build a cultural fence around our heritage properties. They belong to us just as we belong to them. The recent treatment of our shared cultural and structural heritage has been appalling. That’s enough of that now.

When’s the next issue?

We are launching Issue #23 at Lawnya Vawnya on May 4th as part of the Riddle Fence Reading Series (10pm start). Local Bridget Canning, an incredibly talented and promising emerging voice in fiction, will read from her story “Apartment 312” at the opening night rock show. I expect it will be a wild time.

We also have a pack of award-winning writers reading new work including Ed Riche, Andreae Callanan, Robert Chafe, Sharon Bala, Chad Pelley and Susie Taylor. The full reading schedule is available online at Lawnya Vawnya’s and Riddle Fence’s websites, while hard copies are available at the Record & Press Fair at Rocket. You should totally leave the house for this.