Speaking about archival silencings and erasure at an event about silenced voices. St. John’s, January 2018. Photo credit: Peter Stanbridge

What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home tells a story of complicated belongings, and of a search for origins, belonging, and home. In this memoir that traverses five continents and spans more than two centuries, Sonja Boon explores archives, family stories, and her memories in a quest to understand the stories that lie behind her Dutch name, her Canadian passport, her British birth certificate, and her mixed-race heritage. Along the way, she ponders the rich possibilities–but also the limitations–of archival sources, the pull of the ocean, the meaning of music, love, legacy, freedom, memory, ruin, and ultimately, the relevance of our pasts to understanding our present.

Sonja Boon is an award-winning writer, researcher, and teacher, and Professor in the Department of Gender Studies, Memorial University. Her creative non-fiction has appeared in Geist, The Ethnic Aisle, and donttalktomeaboutlove.org, and has been short-listed for Room Magazine’s creative non-fiction contest (2015) and long-listed for CBC Canada Writes creative non-fiction contest (2014). She has published numerous essays that blend the creative and the academic and is the author of three scholarly books (2011, 2015, 2018)In 2018, she received the Marina Nemat Award from the Creative Writing Program, University of Toronto Continuing Studies.

With a professional background in classical music, Sonja has performed around the world, from a command performance for the Crown Prince of Japan in Osaka, to appearing as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony, performances at the Utrecht Early Music Festival (The Netherlands) and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, and six years as principal flutist with the Portland Baroque Orchestra (Oregon). Interested in knowing more about Sonja’s academic and musical work? Look here.

Sonja can also be found on Twitter: @storied_selves.