Monday, March 13, 2017

NWF17 promo

This year is the fifth anniversary of the Newcastle Writer’s Festival (NWF) and once again I’m heavily involved.  I go to a number of writers festivals throughout the year and I love them all, but the NWF is my favourite and not only because it engages heavily with the local writing and reading community of which I’m a part, though they do and every year the number of people I recognise in my extended writing ‘fam’ seems to grow, but also because the festival is both grand, full of fantastic and well-known writers (140 to be exact), and intimate.  It’s the perfect combination of warm/cozy and big/thrilling.

My first session is on the Friday the 7th of April when I will be dropping by to read my second prize poem from the Home is the Hunter anthology.

On the Saturday the 8th of April, I’m hosting Coming of Age: The Power of a Young Narrator with Peggy Frew, Alice Pung, and Holly Throsby in the Concert Hall at City Hall.  Peggy, Alice and Holly all have fantastic novels with teenage protagonists, and we’ll be exploring the teen voice and its appeal to writers and readers, notions of displacement, introspection, otherness and transition, along with their 3 very Australian (and quite different) settings.


This will be followed by a discussion with poets Ivy Ireland and Michael Atkin on The World Around Us - Ecopoetics in The Press Book House at 145, followed by the official launch by Jan Dean of my new poetry book Unmaking Atoms at 230.

On Sunday the 9th of April, I’ll be back in City Hall for 115 for my session Home as a setting and Yearning with Maggie Walsh and Kim Mahood, where we’ll be talking about such things as how place shapes perceptions, about the relationship between nostalgia and notions of home, and what home means in a poetic, literary context.

This will be followed by a mega-poetry reading at the Port of Newcastle marquee at 230 (I’ll be running over with Maggie Walsh) with some of Australia’s best poets including joanne burns, Michael Aiken, Eileen Chong, John Foulcher, Andrew Galan, Judy Johnson, Sara Mansour, Ravi Nagaveeran, Philip Salom, Berndt Sellheim, Melinda Smith and Maggie Walsh.

It’s going to be a massive weekend, and if you come to any of my sessions, all of which are free (more than half the sessions on the program are free this year), please come up and say hello!  You can grab a full copy of the program here: http://www.newcastlewritersfestival.org.au/2017-program/.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New CR Newsletter for March is out

Hello everyone.  Just a quick note to let you know that our new newsletter is now out and on its way.

We’ve got ten fresh new reviews of books by Elvis Alves, Joshua Hammer, Teju Cole, Alice Pung, Howard Waldman, Jennifer Maiden, Ben Berman, Geoff Nelder and more, along with a big roundup of literary news, a great new book giveaway, and our interview with Jennifer Maiden.  If you haven’t received your copy, you can grab it from the archive here: http://www.compulsivereader.com/sendpress/email/?sid=MA&eid=NjgyMw

To subscribe (free, of course), just drop by the site here: http://www.compulsivereader.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Compulsive Reader newsletter is out

Hello everyone, the Compulsive Reader newsletter for Feb has now gone out and should arrive in your inbox soon if it’s not there already.  This month we have a set of 10 new reviews including So Much Smoke by Felix Calvino, To the Dogs by Roberta Gould, Ain’t U Got No Manners by Kristin Johnson, The Wrong Dog by David Elliot Cohen and a whole lot more, as well as a sweep of January’s literary news including the Australian Indies, Pen America literary and Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal (Yay Susan Howe) to name a few. There’s also another great giveaway for subscribers.  If you’ve missed it or can’t wait for the mail, just grab a copy here:
Compulsive Reader Newsletter Archive

If you aren’t a subscriber and want to subscribe for free, just drop by Compulsive Reader and sign up.  Oh, and don’t forget to enter my Goodreads Giveaway for an autographed copy of Unmaking Atoms. You can enter right here on the blog - just below “About Me” on the right hand side.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Poetry Monday: Unmaking Atoms!

Hi Everyone, I’m excited to report that my new poetry book Unmaking Atoms is now out and available at good bookstores everywhere including Amazon.

I’ve recorded one of the poems in the book titled "Mapping Pluto” which you can listen to here: https://soundcloud.com/maggieball/mapping-pluto-by-magdalena-ball

Of the book, the fabulous Kristin J Johnson said: "However, matter cannot be created or destroyed, and this collection unmakes, and then reassembles, the words and images as well as emotions including the sense of joy that permeates Ball’s lyricism. That joy manifests in a “laugh that shakes the floor,” the line and curve that brings wholeness, a light “softer than the cut of love.”

Bob Rich said: "These are pearls in words; beautiful images in beautiful expressions. They force you to think. There is a kaleidoscope of different ways, all pointing to the same theme. You can immerse yourself in each of 96 offerings like this -- except that no two are alike. Each is a cryptic crossword in 17 dimensions, chasing each other out of sight, a carefully designed Rorschach blot.”

The book will be formally launched at this year’s Newcastle Writers Festival at the Press Book House by the magnificent poet Jan Dean.  Stay tuned for more upcoming events, videos, and giveaways.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

CR Newsletter for Jan now out

Happy New Year fellow book lovers.  Just a quick New Year’s posting to let you know that Compulsive Reader’s January newsletter has just gone out, chock full of new reviews and interviews including Cynthia Manick’s latest poetry book, Jen Karetnick, Wolfgang Carstens, Stefan Zweig, and many other , literary news, and two fantastic giveaways (including one containing Sue Duff’s entire Weir Chronicles series).

If you can’t wait for it to arrive or somehow missed your copy, you can pick it up in the archive here: http://www.compulsivereader.com/sendpress/email/?sid=MA&eid=NjcyOA&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sendpress&utm_campaign

If you’re not a subscriber already, just drop by compulsivereader.com and sign up gratis.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Poetry Monday: Women of Words

I have, on occasion, been called a literary activist. I have to admit I’ve never been entirely certain what that is, or whether I really deserve this moniker.  In so far as I feel that art can create a space for positive change, and in so far as I’m always excited about being involved in those efforts, perhaps the label does fit me. On the other hand, I  feel that polemic should remain separate from art, which has its own aesthetic, often far more subtle and complex than politics. That in itself is perhaps a kind of activism: the notion that art can open us up, allowing us to think more deeply, and see one another as utterly connected - so when someone in this world is hurt, we also are hurt.

People like Janette Hoppe and her Papatuanuku Press provide literary activism of the best kind.  The not-for-profit press exists to provide support for indigenous writers, for making silence and pain heard, and as a catalyst for healing.  The press has done all sorts of powerful activities this year including Poetry Bombs, Free Art Fridays, Books on the Rails, and the Women of Words poetry happenings to name a few.  I was lucky enough to participate in Women of Words, and I have to say that the five events were managed superbly, engaging a large number of local poets (boy do we have some talent in this area), and raising over $700 for the Hunter Women’s Centre and the White Ribbon Organisation, both great causes. But wait, there’s more.  One of the outputs from those events was a print book called Women of Words: eat, stray’d, love, a collection of poetry.  The cost of the book is $20, with the profits split equally (and entirely) between The Hunter Women’s Centre and the White Ribbon Organisation.  If you’re looking for a unique, ethical present for someone, this might well be it.  To order a copy, just Paypal $20 to Janette Hoppe at hoponin@bigpond.net.au, or visit her Facebook page and send a direct message if you have questions or special instructions for sending.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Compulsive Reader Newsletter for Dec is out

The December Compulsive Reader newsletter has now been full distributed and if you’re a subscriber, a copy should have already arrived in the inbox.  If for some reason you haven’t gotten it, or are still considering whether to subscribe, you can check it out in the  Compulsive Reader archive.

The newsletter features the usual round-up of literary news, ten fresh reviews, new author interviews, and another great book giveaway.  If you aren’t a subscriber and would like to be, just drop by http://www.compulsivereader.com and sign up - it’s easy!


photo credit: cseeman Kresge Library Collection Transfer - July 8, 2014 via photopin (license)