Spotlight: Sonya Huber

sonya-huber1            Pain Woman

Hobart Festival of Women Writers welcomes Sonya Huber.

Author of the new essay collection “Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Thoughts from a Nervous System,” Sonya Huber will give a reading and offer the workshop “Writing the Wild and Ragged Body” at Festival of Women Writers 2017. Huber is director of The Fairfield Low-Residency MFA Program and teaches in the Department of English at Fairfield University. She is the author of “Opa Nobody,” “Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir,” “The Evolution of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” and the textbook “The Backwards Research Guide for Writers: Using Your Life for Reflection, Connection, and Inspiration.” Her essays were named notable in Best American Essays 2014 and 2015, and she received the 2012 Creative Nonfiction Award from Terrain.

Evolution of Hilary Clinton    Cover Me        Opa Nobody

Stephanie Nikolopoulos interviews Sonya Huber IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

SN: Your book “The Evolution of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” published shortly before the election last year, became a bestseller and was praised for being balanced and fair in its representation of the presidential nominee. When others are claiming falsehoods as fact, how does an author build trust among readers?

Sonya H: We definitely live in strange and alarming times with regard to nonfiction and the notion of facts. It’s been very important for me in my writing to be honest with readers not only about information that conflicts with my own thesis, but also to reflect in my writing about how my beliefs and thoughts have been changed by writing and living. I think the notion of facts being merely ammunition in the service of winning an argument relies upon a sense that one’s thesis must be defended at all costs, and conflicting facts can be discarded. While that approach to reality has been in the headlines, teachers also have encountered it for a long time when teaching introductory composition.

SN: In your books, “Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System” and “Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir” you speak to issues of the body—not to mention the pocket—that are often treated more clinically, so to speak, in writing. Why did you choose literary and experimental essays and memoir to create awareness about these topics?

Sonya H: The financial and physical uncertainty of living in a body without access to care or cure creates a kind of daily existential crisis, and that strange ride is a kind of emergency that so many people carry with them in their skins. We don’t often talk about the all-pervasive effect that these states of being have on our lives, past, present and future. I am endlessly fascinated by the way access to health care changes everything about a life, and I found myself drawn to literary writing to give myself some space to examine all the facets of this experience that I couldn’t explore in traditional research and narrative.   Sonya Huber reading

Sonya reads LAVA LAMP OF PAIN from her breathtaking collection.
SN: What do you want writers to get from the workshop, “Writing the Wild and Ragged Body” that you’ll be presenting at this year’s Hobart Festival of Women Writers?

Sonya H: I would love for participants to come away with a sense of freedom and possibility in the writing of illness and healing. These subjects are often constrained by societal expectations and stereotypes, which limit the way we tell and even think about these stories, and I’d like to explode as many of those as possible.

link to a feature on Sonya Huber in VELA, an online magazine highlighting non-fiction by women.

woman carrying books

Festival 2017 is Sonya Huber’s debut at the Festival of Women Writers. For more information on the author, teacher, and director, visit

For more information on Hobart Book Village Festival of Writers, visit:

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