Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club

by Megan Gail Coles
  • debut
  • english-from-canada
  • from-the-atlantic-canada
  • literary

#1 National Bestseller - 30,000 copies sold!
Finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, 2019
Winner, BMO Winterset Award, 2019
Finalist, CBC Canada Reads, 2019
Globe & Mail Best 100 Books of 2019
A CBC Book of the Year, 2019
A Toronto Star Best Book of 2019

Megan Gail Coles’s debut novel Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club is a blistering, timely and heartbreaking portrait of a place in the throes of enormous change, where two women confront the traumas of their past in an attempt to overcome the present and pick up the future.

Another blizzard is threatening to tear a strip off downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland, while inside The Hazel restaurant a storm of sex, betrayal, addiction, and hurt is breaking. Iris, a young hostess from ‘round the bay’, is forced to pull a double despite resolving to avoid the charming chef and his wealthy restaurateur wife. Just tables over, Damian, a hungover and self-loathing server, is trying to navigate a potential punch-up with a pair of customers, while Olive, a young Indigenous woman far from home, watches it all unfurl from the fast and frozen street. It is through Olive, largely unnoticed by the others, that we glimpse the truth behind the scathing lies and unrelenting abuse, and it is her resilience that proves most enduring in the dead of this winter’s tale.

It’s a beautiful, important book touching on universal themes of class, abuse, rising immigrant tensions and more. By turns biting, funny, and poetic, Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club rips into the inner lives of a wicked cast of characters, building towards a climax that will shred perceptions and force a reckoning.


Megan Gail Coles, author

Megan Gail Coles is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National Theatre School of Canada, and she has recently completed a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. She has written and produced numerous plays. Her first fiction collection, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, won the BMO Winterset Award, the ReLit Award, and the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, and it earned her the one-time Writers’ Trust 5x5 prize. Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club is her debut novel.


  • Each character is rendered with such stunning details and unflinching insights that you can’t leave this novel’s pages without being changed. To read Megan Gail Coles’s masterful debut is to become obsessed with it. - Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
  • Glorious use of language. - Quill & Quire Link to review
  • Coles conjures a remarkably hard and unforgiving world, where appetite along with an imbalance of power and outlooks create heartache, chronic pain and fleeting escapes. - Toronto Star Link to review
  • Megan Gail Coles can arguably already claim the prize for this year’s best title. - Globe & Mail Link to review
  • [T]his is not your traditional Newfoundland novel of social isolation. Instead, Megan Gail Coles portrays the harsh existence of the islanders’ as emblematic of the human condition itself. The characters’ lives unfold around a fine restaurant. They are physically and emotionally crippled by their society’s devastating inequalities, the women psychologically maimed by repeated sexual assault. Coles’s narrator storms against the status quo in a kinetic novel that dazzles, challenges and exhilarates. - Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury Citation

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: House of Anansi Press



rights sold: French Europe (Denoël); French North America (Québec Amérique)

rights available: World, excl. North America

Additional Information

age range: Adult

number of pages: 440

publication date: 02/12/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book