2016 Teller Bios

Home Festival 2016 2016 Teller Bios


Elinor has been telling stories for over 25 years . She was inspired by many, including Newfoundland fiddler and storyteller, Emile Benoit, Rita Cox, Bob Barton and Laura Simms. After 22 years as an administrator with the Newfoundland Public Libraries, she left to devote more time to storytelling, working with the “Learning Through the Arts” programme in schools in Western Newfoundland, before moving to Nova Scotia in 2011.

Lifetime member, former Administrator, retired Webmaster of Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada, she received the Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada “Storykeeper Award” in 2015. She currently serves as president of the Storytellers’ Circle of Halifax.

Among the places she has performed are The March Hare, Corner Brook, Ottawa Storytelling Festival, Trails, Tales and Tunes (Norris Point, NL), St. John’s Storytelling Festival, Festival of Storytelling (Brockville, ON) Word on the Street, (Halifax), Sean Dunne Festival (Waterford, Ireland), T.A.L.E.S. Retreat, Alberta, with epic telling of Grettir the Strong (2012), The Dublin Yarnspinners, The Storytellers Circle of Halifax. In 2003, she toured Montreal and the townships during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week.

See Elinor’s website: http://www.elinorbenjamin.ca


Chris Brookes is an author, storyteller and independent radio producer whose documentary features have won over forty international awards including the Peabody Award and the Prix Italia, and have been broadcast around the world. He has directed documentaries for Canadian network television, is a published author and playwright, and has taught documentary storytelling at festivals and workshops across North America and Europe. As a sound artist, his audio art has been exhibited at international festivals and released on CD. He was formerly artistic director of the Mummers Troupe Theatre of Newfoundland and pioneered the use of theatre as a vehicle for community development. He has also produced radio drama for CBC.He has been inducted to the Nfld & Labrador Arts Hall of Fame, holds an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and is a recipient of the Order of Canada. Brookes currently directs the production company Battery Radio with studios at the bottom of the cliff where Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message in St. John’s, Newfoundland.



Karen Carroll was born and raised in Carbonear, NL. The daughter of a Fisherman turned Labourer and a stay at home Mom, her family roots are on the north shore of Conception Bay. During her early schooling in Carbonear, Karen was introduced to storytelling by her parents and teachers. The rich influence of the school music program, the Presentation Sisters and the Kiwanis Music Festival in that part of the province during that era created an environment in which music, poetry, and performance were encouraged. Later on in High School, Karen became actively engaged with the drama club at St. Francis High School in Harbour Grace, where her love for live performance was born, nourished and thrived. She also began writing poetry and playing the guitar.In the early 1990’s, after some years away from creative practice, Karen became engaged with the Outer Cove Concert Crowd as an amateur actress and singer. This creative outlet rekindled her love of spoken word and live performance, and provided a platform for her to write and perform her own works and the works of other writers. She began to collaborate with her husband Jim on song lyrics.
Karen lives in Logy Bay with Jim and her Newfoundland dog, Nageira. She is a proud and fierce mother and grandmother. Karen finds influence in the rich tapestry of culture that surrounds her. She draws on stories of the work and lives of the women and men of Newfoundland in the past and present to weave recitations that attempt to preserve the past, capture the present and bring to life the once dying art of the recitation in Newfoundland.



Gary Collins was born in a small, two-story house by the sea in the town of Hare Bay, Bonavista North. He finished school at Brown Memorial High in the same town. He spent forty years in the logging and sawmilling business with his father, Theophilus, and son Clint. Gary was once Newfoundland’s youngest fisheries guardian. He managed log drives down spring rivers for years, spent seven seasons driving tractor-trailers over ice roads and the Beaufort Sea of Canada’s Western Arctic, and has been involved in the crab, lobster, and cod commercial fisheries. In 2016, he joined the Canadian Rangers.

Gary’s writing career began when he was asked to write eulogies for deceased friends and family. Now a critically acclaimed author, he has written eleven books, including the children’s illustrated book What Colour is the Ocean? which he co-wrote with his granddaughter, Maggie Rose Parsons. That book won an Atlantic Book Award: The Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. His book Mattie Mitchell: Newfoundland’s Greatest Frontiersman has been adapted for film.

Gary Collins is Newfoundland and Labrador’s favorite storyteller, and today he is known all over the province as “the Story Man.” His favorite pastimes are reading, writing, and playing guitar at his log cabin. He lives in Hare Bay, Newfoundland, with his wife, the former Rose Gill. They have three children and three grandchildren.



Charis Cotter is an award-winning writer and storyteller. Her first book, Toronto Between the Wars: Life in the City 1929–1939, won the 2005 Toronto Heritage Award. Since then, Charis has written books about kings, queens, child prodigies, famous authors and ghosts. The Swallow: A Ghost Story won the IODE Violet Downey Book Award and the Silver Birch Honour Award, and was a finalist in the 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards. Her latest book, The Ferryland Visitor: A mysterious tale, with artwork by renowned Newfoundland artist Gerald Squires, is based on a true ghost story experienced by Squires and his family when they lived at an abandoned lighthouse in the 1970s.

Charis has worked extensively in schools and libraries across Canada, using drama and storytelling to bring her books to life. Her fascination with ghosts has led her to many far corners of Newfoundland, looking for ghost stories. In 2013 she worked with children at Tricon Elementary in Bay de Verde to create and publish The Ghosts of Baccalieu, a book of local ghost stories, collected by the students from their community.

Charis continues to do writing workshops and storytelling at schools, community centres and book festivals. Her next novel, The Painting, will be published by Tundra Books in 2017. She lives in Newfoundland on a quiet road beside the ocean, just a bit too close to two old cemeteries.



Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of ten books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last eighteen years has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writer’s, film, poetry, and folk music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam.

The Globe and Mail newspaper called Coyote “a natural-born storyteller” and the Ottawa Xpress once said that “Coyote is to Canadian literature what kd lang is to country music: a beautifully odd fixture.”

Ivan often grapples with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity in their work, as well as topics such as family, class, social justice and queer liberation, but always with a generous heart, a quick wit, and the nuanced and finely-honed timing of a gifted raconteur. Ivan’s stories remind of us of our own fallible and imperfect humanity while at the same time inspiring us to change the world.

Ivan’s 11th book, Tomboy Survival Guide, will be released in the fall of 2016 with Arsenal Pulp Press.

Follow Ivan online:

website: www.ivanecoyote.com



Mrs. Lizzie is from Aquaforte and was 79 years old before she wrote any poetry at all. She now has many poems under her belt and has a great love of the written word. She recently wrote a letter to the Downhome magazine to tell of how thrilled she was to receive a hand written note from her grandson who was away at school. I guess he has received some of her genes.



Eleanor Dawson grew up in Bay Roberts where she developed a life-long interest in the history, folklore and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has been singing all her life. One of the founders of the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, Eleanor has a particular interest in traditional singing and has a vast repertoire of songs from the English, Irish and Newfoundland traditions. She is past president of both the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society and the Newfoundland Historical Society. She is currently one of the hosts of the monthly Song Circle at the Crow’s Nest Officers Club in St. John’s.



Originally from Harbour Main, Hubert Furey has spent his life in Newfoundland and Labrador. Growing up in a time when many communities were reached only by boat, isolation and the unique culture of life in the outports gave Hubert much inspiration and material from which to create his memorable tales. He has been writing humourous tales since he was a teenager; and has recently published “Tall Tales and Other Stories in Verse”.



Gary Green is a storyteller and author who has performed both inside and outside the province in a variety of settings from camps to international conferences. Among the groups for which he has performed are the Cape St. Mary’s Performance Series; Battle Harbour Historic Trust; Canadian National Storytelling Conference; St. John’s Folk Festival; and Trails, Tales and Tunes. Gary has performed on television as part of the series Legends and Lore of the North Atlantic and on several radio stations. He is a board member of the St. John’s Storytelling Festival, and a founding board member of the Soundbone Traditional Arts Foundation. Gary teaches storytelling at the Vinland Music Camp and is a regular performer at the St. John’s Storytelling Circle.



Christine’s storytelling career began at age 3 when she earnestly explained to her parents, while holding an empty bottle, that she had not spilled her bubbles on the couch. Understandably, they didn’t believe that the wet couch was the result of water shooting out of their daughter’s nose but she swears that her stories have improved greatly since then. She likes to tell a huge variety of stories, including myths, family stories, folk tales and stuff she made up, and her topics range from the story of Sekhmet, an avenging Egyptian goddess, to the story of the time that her Dad tricked her uncle out of a hotdog. Christine is a writer, creative life coach, actor, and, director living in Mount Pearl, NL. She is the founder of the Association for the Arts in Mount Pearl and the current President of the St. John’s Storytelling Festival.



Elizabeth Hicks is a fourth year English Literature Honours student at Memorial University. She kicked off her experience as a storyteller in Sweetline Theatre’s “Shakespeare’s Fairytales: Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter”. In addition to storytelling, Elizabeth enjoys creating and acting in theatre and film. As part of her Performance and Communications Media diploma, she played Judith Gently in “Front”. This past year, she has appeared in “The Vagina Monologues” and “Ida Here and There” and she directed “The Zoo Story”. Elizabeth is also proud member of the St. John’s Actors Studio. Elizabeth is thrilled to be a part of the St. John’s Storytelling Festival for the very first time.



FRANK HOLDEN is a Newfoundland folksinger and storyteller. He has written for and acted on stage, sung classical, musicals and folk songs. His latest work is Ballad of a Green Man, songs and stories about farm life around St. John’s.



Harry Ingram was born and raised in Arnold’s Cove, in Ray Guy’s “Far Greater Bay”, Placentia Bay. Recitations have always been a core element of Harry’s upbringing. He primarily performs his own original material which tends to focus on the funny side of everyday life. Harry also places great importance on keeping alive the works of those who have gone before him such as Leo O’Brien, John Joe English, and Baxter Wareham.He’s also known to appear alongside Dave Paddon, Dave Penny, and Hubert Furey as part of the popular “From Stage to Stage” recitation group.



Dale Gilbert Jarvis is a storyteller, author, and folklorist, living and working in Newfoundland, Canada.

By day, he works as the Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, helping communities to safeguard traditional culture, the first full-time provincially funded folklorist position in Canada. Dale holds a BSc in Anthropology/Archaeology from Trent University and an MA in Folklore from Memorial University. He is a past president of the Newfoundland Historic Trust and has contributed as a board member and volunteer to many local arts and heritage organizations. He regularly teaches workshops on oral history, cultural documentation, folklore project management, and public folklore programming.

By night, Dale is the proprietor of the St. John’s Haunted Hike ghost tour and raconteur of local tales. As a storyteller, he performs ghost stories, stories of the fairies and little people, tales of phantom ships and superstitions, and legends and traditional tales from Newfoundland, Labrador and beyond. His repertoire includes long-form folk and fairy tales from the island, with a wide-ranging knowledge of local legends, tall tales and myths. Author of several books on Newfoundland and Labrador ghost stories and folklore, he is a tireless promoter of local culture.



Kathy was raised in a remote village on the Alaska Highway in northern BC, but wanderlust has taken her far from her roots. She’s always loved telling tales. One day she stumbled upon the world of traditional storytelling, and she was hooked! Since then, Kathy’s performed original stories and world folktales in schools, libraries, concerts and festivals across Canada and internationally. Highlights include the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, a Nordic storytelling conference in Iceland, and most recently- sharing tales with school children in South Africa. Her stories have been published in various venues and included on several CD anthologies. LISTEN UP, her solo CD is recommended as a top choice by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Aside from performing, giving workshops and presentations, Kathy is Artistic Director of the TALES Storytelling Festival in Edmonton. See Kathy’s website: http://www.kathyjessup.com



Andy Jones has been a professional actor, writer, director, and producer for forty years. He was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where he co-founded the Resource Centre for the Arts at the L.S.P.U. Hall, co-writing, acting in, and directing many original productions. He is well known in Canada as a member of the groundbreaking Newfoundland comedy troupe CODCO, in both its theatrical and television incarnations. He has written five critically acclaimed one-man comedy shows, as well as Albert, a one-act play for one man and a budgie bird; The Lady with the Lapdog(a radical theatrical adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s short story); and the children’s plays The Queen of Paradise’s Garden, Jack Meets the Cat (co-written with the Sheila’s Brush collective) and Jack-Five-Oh (co-written with Philip Dinn). More recently, Jones has been adapting Newfoundland folktales as children’s books, including a highly acclaimed series of Jack tales illustrated by Darka Erdelji and designed by Veselina Tomova: Jack and Mary in The Land of Thieves (winner of the 2012 BMO Winterset Award and the 2014 Bruneau Family Award), Jack and the Manger (winner of the 2012 Bruneau Family Award), and The Queen of Paradise’s Garden. The newest book in this series, Jack, the King of Ashes will be launched on October 2nd. His Tartuffe(an adaptation of Moliere’s classic to a 1930’s Newfoundland setting) will appear this fall from Boulder Publications. Andy’s website.



Sharon King-Campbell is a storyteller, writer and theatre artist based in St. John’s. She was brow-beaten into telling her first story in 2008 and it turns out she likes it. Sharon was the first Youth Scholarship winner with the Storytellers of Canada in 2010, and has told all over Newfoundland, as well as in Ontario, British Columbia and New Zealand. She is a regular at the St. John’s Storytelling Circle and is delighted to be telling in her first St. John’s Storytelling Festival.



Born in Wales, Stella has been living in Newfoundland for the past 30 years. Although she considers herself relatively new to performing as a storyteller, Stella has been using stories her entire life in retreats, ministry, and pastoral visits. She likes getting people to tell their own stories, and through that, recognizing their own strengths. Stella believes that stories are powerful in the process of healing and can aid in cross cultural understanding, and the building of community. A regular teller at St. John’s Storytelling Circle, she shares legends and folktales from many countries and cultures, especially from Wales and China, creation stories, and her own stories and poems.



Frank was born in St. Mary’s, a small community of Irish descent, on the Southern Avalon.  He grew up listening to stories and recitations, many of which were written by a parish priest, who had a vivid imagination and a creative mind.  After finishing high school, Frank attended Memorial University and acquired a teaching degree.  After teaching for a few years, he returned to University and acquired a degree in Guidance and Counselling; after which he spent the remainder of his career with Conception Bay North School Board.

 These days Frank enjoys helping the family with handy jobs and getting together with friends for a sing-along and stories and of course reciting.



Dave Paddon has been writing and performing recitations since 2008. He grew up in Northwest River, Labrador and spent a good deal of his feckless youth listening to Trapper’s songs and verse in various cabins and kitchens in central Labrador. Four of Dave’s compositions have been published with another in the works. After twenty years up in Canada he gratefully moved home in 2004 and lives in St.John’s with his wife Kim, occasionally venturing back upalong to ply his trade as an airline pilot.



Dave Penny has been playing the accordion and fiddle for twenty years, performing at various venues and festivals around the province.  In 2006 he started writing comic songs and recitations and recorded an album in 2008 called Stories and Strangers, which includes both original and traditional songs and tunes from Newfoundland and Labrador. 


Clever turns of phrase a distinct spin on the unique Newfoundland sense of humour have helped Dave develop a  style that’s all his own. Dave has been a fixture at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival for many years and has drawn sold-out crowds as part of the annual From Stage to Stage show.


Dave lives in St. John’s with his son Kaleb.



Catherine Wright is a multidisciplinary artist who has been active in the St John’s community for over twenty years as a performer, arts advocate and enthusiastic arts educator. She has presented independent and collaborative works at many events and venues for a range of audiences from preschoolers to seniors. Her performances often interweave storytelling, movement/dance, music/song, exploring a range of themes, oft-times autobiographical. Over the past year, Catherine has performed at ARTFUSiON, Killdevil Fair, Peter Pan Festival, Lantern Festival, Festival of New Dance, St. John’s Storytelling Festival and AC Hunter Children’s Library. Catherine appears at St John’s Storytelling and Song Circles at the Crow’s Nest. She also tells nightly to her son Benjamin, who is a source of encouragement and inspiration, and enjoys collaborations with musical/life partner Len Sperry.