Getting to Know Sonya Wilson

2nd December 2020

Book Podcaster, Journo, Author and TV Producer are just some of the titles held by Sonya Wilson. Aucklander Sonya is also the heart and soul behind Kiwi Christmas Books, a charitable scheme set up to ensure those kids whose families are struggling, will get a book as a gift this Christmas. We got to know more about Sonya and her passion for books in this week's Journal interview - read on for more info on how you can help make a donation this Christmas. 

What is your day job?

Journalist / TV producer.

What is your connection to Vic Books?

Vic Books is one of the bookshops supporting my charity scheme, Kiwi Christmas Books. (Thanks guys!)

What are you working on at the moment?

My fledgling book charity kiwichristmasbooks.org.nz, my nerdy books podcast Bookland Presents: How to Love, and my first children's novel, which is being published next year by The Cuba Press. And my 'day job' - which at the moment is producing TVNZ's political current affairs show, Q + A.

Can you tell us more about Kiwi Christmas Books? What is your mission?

I just want to get some books to kids who don't have any books. I want to provide some for families who are struggling - so they can gift a book to their kids at Christmas; I want to provide some for the kids who arrive at refuges with nothing more than the clothes on their backs; I want to give brand new books to kids who've never had a book of their own.

Seeing books changing hands must be very rewarding. What inspired you to set up Kiwi Christmas Books?

I really do believe in the power of books: their ability to teach, not just facts and figures, but empathy and self awareness and critical thinking, their ability to become a means of escape, or bring joy and wonder and wisdom. I don't think it's fair that some kids get to grow up in households filled with books, while others, through no fault of their own, don't have any access to books at all.

What are the Wellington recipients of the donations our customers make?

All book donations made in Wellington will go to The Wellington City Mission and the Wellington Hospitals Foundation (supporting five hospitals in the region.)

Some quick fire book recommendations please!

Lizards Tale by Weng Wai Chen 
Lost Wonders by Sarah Ell
The Adventures of Tupaia by Courtney Sina Meredith and Mat Tait
Tree Beings by Raymond Huber and Sandra Severgnini
Capsicum, Capsi Go by Toby Morris 
Mophead by Selina Tusitala Marsh.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke by Tina Makereti.

What do you like about it?

She had me at the first three sentences: 'Listen, miracle of the future.'

Which literary character do you most identify with? Why?

Ha, gosh, erm, I'd have to think on that one a bit longer! You couldn't really call it 'identifying with,' but when I was young, I desperately wanted to be Danny, from Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World, so I could live in a gypsy caravan, hang out in a forest, and feed raisins to pheasants.

Hardback or paperback?

Both!

Favourite coffee?

Supreme.