(Women's) Writer's Block: Soraya Roberts

October 19, 2016

For Women's History Month, we've saved Wednesdays for highlighting Canadian women writers, their latest work, and their writing process. This Wednesday, we've got a short-but-sweet interview with Soraya Roberts, author of  In My Humble Opinion (ECW Press) – an examination about the equally short-but-sweet TV series, My So-Called Life. IMHO recounts a watershed moment in TV history: when real teens played themselves, when third-wave feminism was simultaneously portrayed as narrative, when issues of all facets of identity – gender, identity, sexuality, race, class, body image – were brought to the fore.

We talk with Soraya about recommending movies instead of books, naming your memoirs after rodents, and homes by default.

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womenswritersblock_header_updated

For Women's History Month, we've saved Wednesdays for highlighting Canadian women writers, their latest work, and their writing process. This Wednesday, we've got a short-but-sweet interview with Soraya Roberts, author of  In My Humble Opinion (ECW Press) – an examination about the equally short-but-sweet TV series, My So-Called Life. IMHO recounts a watershed moment in TV history: when real teens played themselves, when third-wave feminism was simultaneously portrayed as narrative, when issues of all facets of identity – gender, identity, sexuality, race, class, body image – were brought to the fore.

We talk with Soraya about recommending movies instead of books, naming your memoirs after rodents, and homes by default.

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Do you have any rituals that you abide by when you're writing?

Nail biting, tea drinking.

 

What's one book you always recommend?

The Descent. I realize that's a movie.

SorayaRoberts'_WorkingDesk(2)

Soraya's desk.

 

What's the most surprising thing about being a writer?

That you can do it in this day and age and pay your bills, kind of.

 

If you wrote a memoir, what would it be called?

I have. It's called Hamster. That's not even a joke.

 

SorayaRoberts'_Advice (1)

Sage advice: "It's OK to value your work more than money. Seriously."

 

What's the toughest part about being a writer?

Being in the presence of people who are not and thinking you have made a monumental mistake. Constantly.

 

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inmyhumbleopinion

About Soraya: I live in Toronto even though I think it's a fairly ugly city. It's the longest place I've ever lived so it's home by default. My day job is worrying about not having a day job while freelancing enough to pay my bills. I rent the first floor of a house with my boyfriend of 10 years as we watch everyone around us get mortgages. My favourite travel destinations tend to be in Europe — places with beautiful buildings and cobblestone streets and citizens who don't think you're crazy for being a writer instead of a doctor.

From 2005 until 2011, I worked as an entertainment editor, first at Time Out Dubai then AOL Canada and finally at The New York Daily News website. Because that job eventually drove me crazy, I have since become a full-time writer, focusing largely on long-form culture pieces, and have contributed to BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast, Dame, The Hairpin, Hazlitt, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Maclean’s, Maisonneuve, Slate, Salon, xoJane, TIME, The Toronto Star, Vanity Fair and Vulture. My work has been translated into French, which I can read, and Portuguese, which I can't.

 

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Thanks so much to Soraya for answering our questionnaire, and to Kat from ECW for making the connection. Check out our previous Women's Writer's Block features with Danila Botha and Mary Frances Coady, and don't forget to keep an eye out next week for our final featured writer.


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