Sonia teaches on the Creative and Professional Writing programme.
Sonia writes fiction and poetry and explores experimental creative forms. She is an avid psychogeographer and draws on walking practices, psychogeography and place-based methods in her writing and research.
She is the founder of Peregrinations: Walking and Landscape Research Group in the School of Humanities, and of an international network of walking creatives and academics, Women Who Walk - www.women-who-walk.org @womenwhowalknet #womenwhowalknet. Her network activities gained her a Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award for 2016-2017.
Sonia is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Research and knowledge exchange
Sonia's interests include the relationship between walking and creativity, labyrinths, intertextual writing, crossover forms and formal experimentation, and the use of constraints, game-playing, randomness and chance to generate text.
Sonia constructed a mown labyrinth in the grounds of CCCU's priory in September 2015. The labyrinth is available for use by staff and students and can be visited by the public during university hours. Sonia's work with labyrinths gained her a Faculty of Arts & Humanities Teaching Innovation Prize in 2016.
In 2016, Sonia delivered a public research project and series of walks, Walking Heritage, grant-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. She is currently developing a walking and mapping project bringing together the novel Riddley Walker and the Anglo Saxon poem Andreas, with her colleague Dr Michael Bintley, for the Being Human Festival and Folkestone Book Festival 2017.
Sonia delivers public walks and 'walkshops' at festivals. She has worked as a consultant for English Heritage using psychogeographical methods at, and approaches to, heritage sites.
On November 4th 2017 she will be leading a public walk responding to the work of Bethan Lloyd Worthington at the Sidney Cooper Gallery, an event supported by Arts Council England.
Teaching and subject expertise
Sonia has developed and delivered the following BA modules:
The Craft of Writing (Level 4 CPW)
Persuasive Writing (Level 5 CPW)
Crossing Form and Genre Boundaries (Level 5 CPW)
Experiments in Writing (Level 5 & 6 CPW)
Creative Writing (Level 6 English Literature)
Sonia supervises Level 6 final projects and teaches on the MA in Creative Writing. She has also delivered research days in psychogeography and labyrinth use for the CCCU MA in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred.
Sonia often gives public readings, talks and writing workshops. She is keen to support new writers through community engagement, acting as a judge for various competitions in Kent.
Sonia was the Armchair Artist in residence at The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Jan-April 2016. Read her residency blogs here: http://canterburymuseums.co.uk/category/artists/
Recent academic conferences:
- 'Reimagining place: creative walking, writing and reading'. Paper. Session 38 'More than pedestrian', RC21: Rethinking Global Urban Justice, University of Leeds, 2017.
- ‘Walking Backwards: psychogeographical approaches to heritage’. Paper. Rurality: CHAT 2016, Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory, University of the Highlands and Islands, Kirkwall, 2016.
- ‘Walking making thinking’. Performance paper and pecha kucha. Walking Women, Utopia Festival, Somerset House, London, 2016.
- ‘'Women Who Walk'. Paper. Beyond the Centre Faculty of Arts & Humanities conference, Canterbury Christ Church University, 2016.
- 'Walkshop & Soundshot - a derive and participatory performance'. Workshop. A Forum on the Art of Participation: what are the aesthetics of taking part? University of Kent, 2016.
- 'The Walking Dead: or why psychogeography matters' and 'The labyrinth: contained walking, creative thinking'. Paper and workshop. Re-enchanting the Academy conference, Canterbury Christ Church University, 2015.
- 'Walking against the current: generating creative responses to place'. Paper. Place-Based Arts conference, University of Brighton, 2015.
- 'Sex in Eden: reading, writing and inhabiting fictional worlds'. Paper. Beyond the Sheets conference, Goldsmith's Writers;' Centre, University of London, 2014.
- 'The Writer's hunger: considering a novel in progress'. Paper. Fashioning the Fictive conference, University Paul Valery, Montpellier, 2013.
Sonia has a strong interest in live literature and performance-based approaches to text and storytelling. She was an active member of the ReAuthoring Project and has been involved in writing residencies, performances and installations. She has also written and abridged text for street theatre.
Recent extrnal projects:
- 'Mishtory Tours'. 4th World Congress of Psychogeography, University of Huddersfield, 2017
- The Outlaw Robin Hood and The Battle of Sandwich, street theatre scripts and performances with The Canterbury Hoodeners, 2017
- 'Walkshop and Soundshot', public workshop, Wealden Literary Festival, 2017
- 'Walk Like Wells', public walk, Folkestone Book Festival, 2016
- The Storytelling Project, outreach project with storyteller Emily Hennessey and Kent schools, The University of Kent, 2014
Publications and research outputs
Recent academic publications:
- 'Workshop and Soundshot - a derive and participatory performance'. PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research, 1 (2). pp42-46, 2017.
- 'Moving around children's fiction: agentic and impossible mobilities'. Co-written with Lesley Murray. In Mobilities and the Humanities, Mobilities vol 12, Taylor & Francis, 2017.
- 'The walking dead, or why psychogeography matters'. In Re-enchanting the Academy, Voss & Wilson, eds., Rudebo press, 2017.
- 'Writing and walking the labyrinth'. In Learning with the Labyrinth: Creating Reflective Space in Higher Education. Sellers & Moss, eds. Palgrave, 2016.
- 'Walking against the current: Generating creative responses to place'. In Place-Based Arts. Moriarty & Aughterson, eds. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, Vol 8, no1. 2016.
Sonia’s novels A Likeness (shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award) and The Realm of Shells are published by 4th Estate/HarperPerennial. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies and most recently in Shearsman magazine. Her book The Art of Walking (Shearsman 2015) is a collection of poetry drawing on her interest in psychogeography and creative responses to place.
In 2016 Sonia published her experimental novel Cruel Brother: a novel in parts in serial form online as part of Shakespeare 400: for more details see www.soniaoverall.net/cruel-brother