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Richmond writer-in-residence’s romance novels focus on women in minority backgrounds

Sonya Lalli explores the difficult choices women face in life
Sonya Lalli
Sonya Lalli is Richmond's newest Writer-in-Residence.

“Often women from minority backgrounds have to make hard choices.”

This is the message and universal theme in the novels of Richmond’s newest Writer-in-Residence program Sonya Lalli.

Lalli, who recently moved from Toronto to Vancouver, said she was in her mid-20s when she decided to write her first book, titled "The Matchmaker’s List," to talk about the expectations that South Asian women, and women of minority backgrounds, face growing up.

“This is something a lot of my friends, and people I knew, were going through constantly,” said Lalli.

“(Women) are often burdened by these expectations, cultural baggage, sexism and many obstacles that hinder us from becoming our best selves or true selves, and going after what we really want, loving who we really want and that kind of thing.”

While she said she was unsure what kind of genre she would focus her writing on, her publisher and editor gave her the direction she needed – romance and women’s fiction.

Lalli added that telling women’s stories, their romantic life and their relationships with family and society was a topic she thoroughly enjoyed.

However, writing wasn’t her first choice of career.

Rather, it was in the field of law that she studied and worked in like “a lot of the kids in immigrant households” before she found comfort in writing and a new career in publishing.

“The creative industry and the arts are not something people were aware of because a lot of (immigrant families) are encouraged to find a stable career and be able to ‘make it’ in a new country,” said Lalli, adding that careers as a doctor, lawyer, engineer or accountant were the jobs that had ‘the status and marker for success.’

“Writing my first book was motivating and it was cathartic really… writing can be personal and therapeutic as a way of getting out and know how you truly feel.”

Lalli will be speaking about her recent works at a free meet and greet at the Richmond Public Library on Sept. 25 from 3 to 4 p.m.

Registration is required for the event and can be done by clicking here.