Newcastle Writers Festival 2023!

The fabulous Newcastle Writers Festival is coming soon! I might be biased but I think it’s the best festival in Australia – both intimate and exciting with a very wide range of exceptional authors and such an incredible range of topics that I struggle to choose what to attend.  As always I have a full roster of my own events including a big poetry launching day on the 1st of April:

  • 11:30am Flying islands group book launch This includes readings from the works of four new series Flying Island poets.
  • 3pm joint book launch with the wonderful Willo Drummond, who will be launching my Bobish and I’ll be launching her Moon Wrasse. Willo and I are good friends and a mutual admiration society so it will be a fun and exuberant session with lots of laughter and of course powerful readings.
  • 430pm Woman of Words anthology launch featuring readings from this fund-raising collection by me, Ellen Shelley, Gillian Swain and host and the powerhouse behind the series, Janette Hoppe.

On the 2nd of April at 130pm I’ll be hosting a panel with editor Mohammad Awad and two authors – Claire Albrecht and Kristen Dunphy from the Red Room and Upswell anthology Admissions: Voices within Mental Health.

Again, all of my events are free ones (get there early as it’s always first come best dressed with the free events) and I’d love to see you there!   Download the full program here:

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Cathedral Gums at openbook

A new ekphrastic poem has been published in the exquisite Openbook magazine, published by the State Library of NSW.
The poem was written for Brian Purcell’s “Cathedral Gums at Sunset” which is part of his Cathedral series.  An absolute honour to have his painting wrapped around the poem.

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Pigeon Talk on The Wild Word

A poem of mine, “Pigeon Talk” has been published in The Wild Word’s “Bare” issue.

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International Women’s Day/Sydney Jewish Writers Festival

So excited to be sharing the stage on International Women’s Day with some amazing women: filmmaker Karen Pearlman and actress, singer and writer Jessica Chapnik Kahn. We have all sorts of fun things planned including a curated panel conversation, a mini-book launch of my Bobish, a screening of Karen’s multi award-winning film I Want to Make a Film About Women, and a mini-concert from Jessica. The event will take place in Woollhara at 630 on the 9th of March. Pre-bookings are a must and I expect it will sell out quickly,  Find out more at the link below.

Renaissance Women – IWD 2023

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Poetry at the Pub Feature

Poetry at the Pub is a lovely institution.  The Newcastle one has been going for some 35 years and the sessions are generally well-attended, genial, warm and inclusive.  Since Covid, there is an online option so poets and poetry lovers from everywhere can join in, read their work, and support one another – and it is really very supportive.  Each session has a feature poet and I’m delighted to be the next feature, reading solely from my new book Bobish. I’ll be talking about the book, about my great-grandmother Rebecca Lieberman, the subject of the book and her story and would love for you to join in, in person or online.  The session will be held on Monday, February 20th 7 PM – 10 PM at the Wickham Park Hotel, 61 Maitland Road, Islington. Full details are here:

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Talking Maurice Sendak and Creativity at The Writer Laid Bare

I’ve been following Lee Kofman’s excellent blog The Writer Laid Bare for a while now, so I was delighted when she invited me to contribute a post about one author who has had an influence on my writing practice. I was listening to The Book Show with Claire Nichols today and in her introduction to her interview with Paul Jennings she said that the books you read as a young child really shape your worldview. I agree fully and in this piece I talk about why and how Maurice Sendak’s children’s books have really shaped my creativity. Check it out here:

Fear as a Tool for Creativity: A Guest Post by Magdalena Ball (

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Interview with Mirta Ines Trupp

Author Mirta Ines Trupp and I had a fascinating conversation about Bobish, Rebecca’s story and what drew me to it, the immigrant experience in general, why I chose to write in verse, the complexity of retelling one’s history and lots more (the interview was picked up by the Jewish Book Carnival as part of their January roundup). You can check it out here:

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The Next Best Book Blog

I am reading a poem from Bobish titled “Ocean Mandala” as part of The Next Best Book Blog (TNBCC) audio series “The Authors Read. We Listen.”   The terrific blog focuses on small publishers and is well work an explore (I’ve spent far too many hours on there reading through Q&As and reviews).  You can check it out here:

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My new book is available now!

Though it doesn’t officially come out until Jan (and the actual in-person launch will be at the Newcastle Writers Festival in April), you don’t have to wait!  Bobish is now available from good book stores everywhere (and if your store or library–yes, I’d love you to get it from the library– doesn’t have it, please ask for it by name or ISBN 9781925571601). If you’re in Aus, the best place to get the book is directly from my publisher: Puncher & Wattmann

Otherwise of course the book is available through all the major book buying channels, Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, etc.  Just type in Bobish and you’ll find it quick smart.  If you’ve got a reading group and want me to come chat about any number of things – history, writing trauma, poetry and history, poetry and memoir, or really anything at all, just let me know.  I’ve got a few of those lined up for 2023 and I’m very excited about doing that.  I’ve appended back cover information below including some of the gorgeous blurbs I’ve received from my early (and rather wonderful) readers.

Though she was only fourteen years old, like many other Jews in Eastern Europe’s Pale of Settlement in 1907, Rebecca Lieberman gathered her few belongings and left for the United States. What follows is a unique and poetic story of history, war, mysticism, music, abuse, survival and transcendence against the back drop of New York City in the 20s, 30s, and 40s.

‘A fourteen-year-old girl is launched by pogroms and poverty into the New World, fearful and alone. How can she know that her great-granddaughter would weave her story, through imagination and a careful reading of history, into a poetic gift to her memory, and for many more generations to come?’
~ Ramona Koval

‘Magdalena Ball’s powerful re-imagining of her great-grandmother’s life, from crossing the ocean in steerage, alone, at the age of fourteen, to the hardships of immigrant life in New York, is a vivid, lyrical portrayal of a woman that is as much an act of love as it is the preservation of a life, with its lessons of quiet courage in the face of crushing despair.’ ~ Charles Rammelkamp

‘The importance of remembering is a cornerstone of the Jewish faith and in this account of the author’s Jewish great-grandmother as she navigates her life of exile, each scene is both clear eyed and evocative, poetic and down to earth, empathetic and far reaching. A marvellous, nourishing book of resilience.’ ~Judy Johnson

‘In Bobish Magdalena Ball picks up the thread that connects us to our ancestors weaving it into the fabric of family memory and public history, creating an intensely vivid and evocative work. A narrative montage of exquisite poems, where choices are funnelled by pogroms, racism, pain, poverty, hope, and nourished by music and family. It was a deeply moving experience to read this book.’ —Beth Spencer

‘Magdalena’s stirring poems are unsettlingly familiar and eerily transcendent. The persistence, the endurance, the quiet resignation, somehow amounts to the telling of a small woman who is nothing less than mighty.’ ~Gillian Swain

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QLD Ekphrasis Challenge

I’m stunned and delighted to report that my poem “Soil Horizon (O)” has been chosen as one of the winners of this year’s

Queensland Regional Art Awards (QRAA) Ekphrasis Challenge by judge Marjon Mossammaparast. The poem was a response to Helen Deniss’ beautiful award-winning artwork “Resilience”. All of the winners can be read and viewed at the Qld Poetry website: and my own piece can be read in full here:

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