Sonja Franeta is
a writer, educator and activist born in the Bronx, New York to an immigrant Yugoslav family. She went to St. Nicholas of Tolentine High School and then attended New York University, where she pursued her love of literature and writing. Captivated by the Russian language and its literary masters, she received a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s in Russian Literature. Sonja continued her studies in Comparative Literature at U.C. Berkeley. Her life changed irrevocably during this period when she came out as a lesbian and became a socialist. Her interest in Russia crystallized after perestroika when she joined the first queer delegation to Russia in 1991. Sonja continued to find ways to be in Russia during the 1990s in its transformative period. She taught English in Moscow, managed a project for wheelchair activists in Central Siberia, and organized the first queer film festival in Tomsk. Her translations and articles about Russian queers, her poems and her memoir stories have appeared in the U.S. and internationally. In 2004 she published Rozovye Flamingo (Pink Flamingos: 10 Siberian Interviews), a book of queer interviews in Russian, in collaboration with friends at the LGBT Archives in Moscow. Sonja plans to translate that book into English. She currently lives in California with her spouse, Sue, and their two cats and loves to write and travel.