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Born and brought up in Wales, Sonja has been richly shaped by that Celtic land of song and story. Significant strands in her varied life are: singing achievements in school plays and Eisteddfods, chapel, plus operatic roles and rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ in London, the Midlands and France.

Sonja has also gathered in her fruitful basket three academic degrees, including a PhD from Birmingham University, UK. Her passions include human and cultural development, music, literature, trees and the environment. For ever morphing, her “Doctor Sonja’s Bitches Brew: a ‘telling’ journey through music spaces” (2011), reveals the impact of music and musicians on her life and thinking.

“Music and Oppression: Shaping Women’s Voices in Estonian Cultural Spaces” (2015) demonstrates Sonja’s ethnomusicological interests with a special focus on two Estonian classical singers; a history of harsh political Occupations of Estonia; and the connections one of the singers had with South Wales. Estonians also feature in her book “Processes of Othering, Distinction and Shared Understanding: Power–Tools in UK and Estonian Social and Cultural Spaces” (2017), also incorporating chapters and themes from her sociological/ethnomusicological doctoral research in the UK in the 1990s.

“Women of Ideas Tracing ‘Othering’ Footprints” (2019) pays tribute to many inspirational feminist academics and activists in the women’s movement 1960s–1980s and to Simone de Beauvoir’s earlier ideas. All helped shape the author’s own research and development of gender issues in the 1980s and beyond. By drawing on some earlier feminist research and her own, she critically engages not only with current patriarchal legacies but also with a recognition that ‘women’ are not a homogeneous group.

Sonja’s novels reflect her long interest in feminism, discrimination, social exclusion and culture. “The Hat Maker”, set initially in Wales and Herefordshire, illuminates social mobility, rape, and the theatrical world of London in the early 1900s. A female narrator in “Sloughing the Skin” casts a curious, critical yet often poetic eye on murder, ‘othering’ and house renovation in Brittany.

Doctor Sonja Strode
 
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