Sonya Soni

Sonya Soni serves as the Director, Prison and Justice Writing Program at PEN America. With a background in community organizing, writing, community participatory research, and policy advocacy, she strives to bring together artists, storytellers, scholars, and activists to center the voices of youth who are currently and formerly incarcerated in systemic policy change.

Sonya has worked for various youth justice organizations in the U.S. and India, including Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, the Harvard FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, Partners In Health, and the Office of former Mayor Cory Booker. She co-led the Los Angeles County Youth Commission, the first-ever governing body led by systems-impacted youth who design policies for the country’s largest child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Sonya also founded the “Policymaking through Poetry” workshop series for youth artist-activists in South Los Angeles.

Sonya is currently a 2024 Kweli Literary Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Southern California, as well as a Master’s degree from Harvard University, where she was a Harvard Women & Public Policy Fellow.