Sonia Saikaley

Author and Poet


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Kibbeh nayeh meets Sushi

Posted on 21 November, 2017 at 18:10 Comments comments (0)

A real honour to have been interviewed by the wonderful Mo Duffy Cobb. Check out the interview and the amazing work in this issue. Many thanks to Mo and Cargo Literary!

My Writing Day: Walking with my Characters

Posted on 30 September, 2017 at 0:30 Comments comments (0)
Check out my piece about my writing day. Many thanks to the wonderful Rob McLennan for this!

Sonia Saikaley - Local Poet

Posted on 4 September, 2017 at 20:10 Comments comments (0)

"A Samurai's Pink House" featured in Vistas! "These poems read like tales that capture the essence of the human heart and reveal a unique perception of modern existence. At times, the poems are fierce and sharply-focused and other times are soft as the silk of a kimono. The reader peers into the lives of people rising above traumas relating to gender identity, sexism, grief and loneliness. But underlying these situations, there are threads of hope for healing and happiness."

If you live in the Alta Vista/Elmvale Acres area in Ottawa, grab a copy and check out the new issue. Thanks to everyone at VISTAS for this lovely feature!

Sitting Next to Basho - From the JET Programme to a writing career

Posted on 26 August, 2017 at 16:35 Comments comments (0)

Check out my article "Sitting Next to Basho—From the JET Programme to a writing career" in JET Streams. I write about my time in Japan from meeting Basho to eating beef tongue…ah, the adventures I had in the Land of the Rising Sun! Plus there’s some advice for new writers. Enjoy!

What a night!

Posted on 15 July, 2017 at 6:45 Comments comments (0)

What a lovely evening of poetry and music! Thanks so much to all those who were able to make it out to Octopus Books. I am so grateful for your support! Special thanks to the other performers Claudia Radmore, Ryoko Itabashi and Guy Simser. A huge thanks to Pearl Pirie for being such a delightful Emcee. Special thanks to Pei-Ju at Octopus Books for all her help. And to my amazing publicist Renee Knapp and publisher Inanna Publications!

A Year in Japan

Posted on 9 July, 2017 at 17:35 Comments comments (0)

So wonderful and grateful to be featured in Artsfile! Many thanks to Paul Gessell for his support. Enjoy!

A Samurai's Pink House has entered the world!

Posted on 27 May, 2017 at 19:05 Comments comments (0)

After a fabulous launch in Toronto, my new poetry collection “A Samurai’s Pink House” has entered the world! Thanks to those who were able to attend the launch. Your support meant a great deal to me. I would also like to thank my amazing editor Luciana Ricciutelli for her excellent work on my book and for believing in this collection. Big thanks to Renée Knapp, publicist extraordinaire! And to the rest of the gang at Inanna Publications. A special thanks to Val Fullard for the beautiful cover.

If you would like to buy a copy of the book, you can order one from your local bookseller (in Ottawa, I would recommend Octopus Books in the Glebe or Perfect Books on Elgin Street).

The book is also available through my publisher Inanna Publications (, ( and Chapters (

Thanks so much everyone for your support on this amazing journey!

To the chirping birds!

Posted on 25 April, 2017 at 5:40 Comments comments (0)

Hi everyone,

Spring is finally upon us! New beginnings, new adventures, new stories…and, of course, the chirping birds! Check out my recently published stories in Rigorous and The Peacock Journal. I am so grateful to the editors of these beautiful journals. Happy Spring! Enjoy!

Spring Thought

Posted on 3 December, 2016 at 9:00 Comments comments (0)

Although we are starting winter in Ottawa, here's some inspiration that spring is only a few months away :) ...this poem is part of my forthcoming poetry collection “A Samurai’s Pink House” with Inanna Publications. Check it out if the spirit moves you. Thanks so much to Every Day Poems for featuring this poem!

The Halloween Poem

Posted on 31 October, 2016 at 6:10 Comments comments (0)

I don’t know when my dream was born. Maybe it was born when I wrote a poem about Halloween. The poem was part of a high school assignment. I can’t remember the title now nor any of the words. There was something about the Monster Mash, I think. Age has erased some of my memories. But I still have that dream.

We all have dreams.

My dream is as big as my big Lebanese family. Perhaps as messy as well like homemade baklava, oozing sweetness and toothaches. My parents, Lebanese immigrants, couldn’t read or write in English. They never told me to dream big, but expressed it in actions by coming to another country and starting all over. Maybe my mother had planted my dream inside of me when we were once one.

I could have died before I arrived in this land of glacial landscapes and towering maple trees. My mom had a difficult pregnancy when she carried me. Somehow the umbilical cord became entangled around my neck. Ah, this momentary lack of oxygen could explain a few things! Seriously, my eldest sisters recounted how the doctors saved me and how my mother was fairly ill afterwards, thus, prompting my father to bring over my maternal grandmother from Lebanon to care for us. Sito wasn’t used to Canadian winters, but she bundled herself up with layer upon layer and managed to find a way to live in a place that was so different from her own home. When my grandmother left, I screamed, “Mama! Mama!” I thought she was my mother and she was leaving me. My sisters said I cried like a baby at the airport. I was only one. Still a baby after all. That memory would end up in an unpublished novel stuffed in an old box in the basement. But my dream didn’t die like I didn’t die that day in the early seventies.

I don’t know how my dream of being a writer was born. Somehow I found my way to words. I remember the picture books in my pediatrician’s waiting room. Curious George was my favourite because my sisters often called me ‘monkey’ when I was growing up (I once climbed trees too!). I admired this adventurous little monkey. Then there was the public library where I roamed. I loved the musty books describing settings that were beyond the life I had in Ottawa. As a child, I read everything from Judy Blume to Mary Shelley, even read my sister’s Jackie Collins books and learned about the birds and bees with those erotic and hot scenes. When I was a teenager, I read Alice Walker, John Steinbeck, Margaret Laurence and J.D. Salinger. I don’t know how my dream of being a writer emerged, but it did. I wrote poems for my friends and we’d have a good laugh at the rhymes I’d come up with. I wish I still had my poem about Halloween. As part of this class assignment, we also had to read the poem out loud. For me, public speaking was a horrific experience, minus scary masks and fake blood. But when it was all over, my classmates clapped and cheered as if I were a rock star. Maybe my dream was born then. Throughout high school, I wrote poems and then after university, I ventured into the world of short stories. I submitted pieces to magazines without any success. Then slowly a poem or story would get published. Time passed. I took writing courses. More time passed. Months turned to years and soon I was on the cusp of turning forty without a book contract. Where was my dream? My dream seemed impossible. There were times I wanted to give up that dream that was as big as my big Lebanese family.

Then one day I saw this literary contest and made a deal with God. “God,” I begged. “I don’t know what to do. Please give me a sign. If I win this contest, I will keep writing. But if I don’t, is it okay if I give up?” My eyes stung with tears. I crossed my face and got up from my knees. Exhausted, I fell into a deep sleep.

The next day before the sun rose, I started writing about a young Lebanese man who had a dream. In pain, in tears, in hope, I wrote. The deadline was in three weeks. Somewhere along the years my dream unravelled. It happened slowly like the fraying of a sweater. My dream was now like cheap fabric. But cheap fabric could be mended, no? I wrote and wrote until I had a novella and met the contest’s deadline. I had no time to proofread. I slipped the manuscript in an envelope and sent it off.

Time passed. Leaves turned a brilliant scarlet. Halloween was a month away. An email appeared in my inbox. It was from a publisher in Toronto. When I read it, my eyes teared. I looked up and thanked God. I had made it.

Here’s to dreams! Happy Halloween, everyone!