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  More info about each of Dr. Sonja Strode’s books can be found on each book’s separate page on this website.
  Scroll down the ‘About the Books’ links to access that info or click on each book’s title (in purple) found below.



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 over forty years Sonja has researched, written about and been actively engaged in feminist issues, addressing gender inequalities and racism in everyday spaces and in employment. These concerns are seen in her books listed here.

Her professional employment and her voluntary roles in the UK and abroad have been many and varied. They have included supporting people with disabilities, learning difficulties, or other health and financial issues. In support of women specifically, she has also held many voluntary positions: e.g. women’s officer, secretary of a women’s council, been a vice–president and president (of different groups), and been chairperson of a ‘women and ‘arts’ group’.

Additionally, she was chairperson, researcher/writer and magazine editor of a health group and gave telephone support; as well as writing humorous and informative monthly articles for a music magazine in which she tried to aid live music and musicians in the early 2000s.

During her professional paid employment in the 1980s and 1990s she devised and taught modules on Gender and anti-racism to teachers, careers officers, and students. Males were present for some of those courses, and so they learned how they are inextricably linked to such gender issues.

In the mid–1980s her concerns and research about women and girls – in education, in the labour market and in other social and cultural spaces – led her to contact a County’s Director of Education, who then set up their first County Gender Advisory Group. Sonja became part of that small team. This enabled her to do further gender research both in and outside that English county; and she subsequently co–wrote its detailed policy/guidelines on Gender for schools and colleges.

Prior to that, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s, in several different counties in both her paid and voluntary work she also organised and helped run girls and women’s days, weeks or weekends, where her focus was on raising awareness of key issues affecting women in society – in the UK and globally – including misogyny (physical, verbal, other forms of sexism), harassment, women’s position in the labour market, choice of subject at school, college or university, poverty and health inequalities.

Some of these gender courses also included music and the creative arts as well as adventurous activities like abseiling and archery; but they also enabled females to access and learn about new emergent technologies (like computers were in the early 1980s), as well as basic car maintenance, driving a JCB digger and other activities often then labelled as so–called ‘men’s work’.

Later, Sonja was awarded a grant from the University of Birmingham to pursue further her research in equal opportunities, gender and racism. Her doctoral thesis – along with her books and novels since – demonstrate that like racism, gender inequalities and girls’ and women’s experiences in the spaces of everyday life – whether related to verbal utterances, physical harm, or their position in the world of paid work – are nothing new; rather, they are ongoing, stemming as they do from a long historical, and patriarchal trajectory where, as Simone de Beauvoir argued in the 1950s, women are still seen by many as the ‘second sex’, as inferior.

Sonja’s earlier academic research in the 1980s on the UK labour market revealed how that history transmitted into the then gender gap in subject choices at school and higher education levels and into a differentiated labour market along gender lines.

In the light of recent new times in 2020 and 2021, she continues to ask: to what extent has women’s position really changed in all the spaces of girls’ and women’s everyday lives? And men’s?

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.

Set mainly in South Wales, London and Paris, “The Wimberry Greenhouse” is a gripping sequel to “The Hat Maker”.

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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