Sonia teaches on the Creative and Professional Writing BA and MA Creative Writing programmes.
Sonia writes fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and explores experimental 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 and the recipient of Faculty Learning and Teaching Innovation Awards in 2017 and 2019.
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 and she has created interactive labyrinths for public arts events including the 4th World Congress of Psychogeography.
In 2016, Sonia delivered a public research project and series of walks, Walking Heritage, grant-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. She co-created a walking and mapping project bringing together the novel Riddley Walker and the Anglo Saxon poem Andreas, with Dr Michael Bintley, for the Being Human Festival and Folkestone Book Festival 2017. Sonia wrote 'R is for Riddley Walker' for the Christ Church Heritage A-Z: https://medium.com/the-christ-church-heritage-a-to-z. She is a peer reviewer for the International M/C Journal.
Sonia delivers public walks and 'walkshops' at festivals. She is a guest artist for the autism research project 'Playing A/Part' at the University of Kent, and a contributor to the Citizan coastal project steering group. Sonia has worked as a consultant for English Heritage using psychogeographical methods at, and approaches to, heritage sites, also contributing to the inter-faculty 'Richborough: Gateways' project.
Teaching and subject expertise
Sonia is the Programme Director for the MA in Creative Writing and teaches on both the MA and BA Creative Writing programmes. She is particualrly interested in supervising practice research projects; experimental approaches to form and voice; psychogeography; pilgrimage; and writing place.
Sonia has 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 at literary and arts festivals. 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/
Many of Sonia's conference papers and publications are available through CReATE. Recent academic conferences include:
- 'When the ground grabs your ankles: or how to write about freaking out'. Paper. Folk Horror in the 21st Century, University of Falmouth, 2019.
- 'Don't walk that way: why heritage sites need pscyhogeography'. Paper. TAG 2017, University of Cardiff, 2017.
- '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.
Sonia has a strong interest in live literature and performance-based approaches to text and storytelling. Her collaborative film Being Horse, made with performer James Frost, was shown at Folk East 2019 and will be screened at a Walking Arts conference in Plymouth later this year. Sonia was an active member of the ReAuthoring Project and has been involved in writing residencies, performances and installations. She writes and abridges text for street theatre, and has been selected for the 2019 Marlowe Roar Artist Development Programme for new theatre writing for her work in progress, Relics.
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