Sonya Bates is a Canadian writer who has lived in South Australia for more than 20 years.

Tim Winton's Cloudstreet proved a perfect introduction for Sonya Bates to Australian satirical wit.

Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet proved a perfect introduction for Sonya Bates to Australian satirical wit. Credit:Deb Smith

She worked for many years as a speech pathologist and has written several books for children. Her first thriller for adults, Inheritance of Secrets, is published by HarperCollins.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis
This book, along with the rest of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia, symbolises my childhood. I read and re-read them more times than I can remember. Unaware of the underlying themes, I read them purely as an escape, to immerse myself in the enchanting world of Narnia, where mythical creatures come to life and good triumphs over evil. They became the foundation for my love of fantasy, a phase that lasted well into my 30s.

The Crystal Cave
Mary Stewart
If C.S. Lewis instilled in me a love of fantasy, this book set me on an obsession with the legend of King Arthur. Told from the point of view of Merlin the magician, the story’s gentle mysticism enthralled me as a teen. A boy gifted with the Sight and an uncanny wisdom, who rises to power and becomes a reluctant kingmaker. I identified with the young Merlin, who just wanted to be left alone.

Tim Winton
As a Canadian, this book was an introduction to the satirical wit of Australians and, having lived here a few years before reading it, it was the first time I truly appreciated the humour. It was also a look at the values and confusing morality of the past and the changing identity of what it meant to be Australian.

Peeling the Onion
Gunter Grass
This memoir was given to me by my dad, who said it reminded him of his own experiences, so I couldn’t help thinking of him as I read it. Grass’ wandering muses and thoughts as he recounts his experiences from early teens to post-war father brought to life the history that was his past and was a major influence in writing about the World War II era.

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