Literary Events

Workshop & Literary Event - Wednesday 13 December 2023

Workshop – Magdalena Ball: Writing the non-traditional memoir – using verse and research to engage with trauma and history

Time:  10:15 am to 12:00 pm
  Dixson Room, State Library of NSW
Cost:  Members $40, non-members $55

Everyone has a story and every story bisects history in one way or another. Look close enough and you will invariably come across trauma or hardship, along with gaps, and many other stories to navigate. Verse is a particularly powerful form for the memoir because of the way it allows you to engage with what’s missing or cannot be known, compress time, use rhythm, visual imagery and sound to get at emotive or multiple truths, and immerse the reader in the heart of experience. This hands-on workshop is for all writers who want to explore story through poetry. We will explore process, using memory, finding and using primary and secondary source material, style and voice choices, creating an arc, and lots more.

You will leave this workshop with several of your own poems and new ways of exploring your stories. This session is not just for poets but for anyone looking for new ways to engage with personal and collective history.

Magdalena Ball is a novelist, poet, reviewer, interviewer, vice-president of Flying Island Books and managing editor of Compulsive Reader. Her stories, editorials, poetry, reviews and interviews have appeared in a wide number of journals and anthologies, and have won local and international awards. She is the author of several novels and poetry books, most recently, Bobish, a verse-memoir published by Puncher & Wattmann in 2023.

Find out more at her website:



It’s almost Christmas!

Come along, join in the festivities, meet other women writers, catch up with your friends! 

Market Stall

Because it’s almost time for Christmas, as members, you can bring your recent publications for sale. Please note, it is up to you to arrange payment – bring appropriate amounts of change if you want to receive cash. Alternatively, you can use your square reader for credit card transactions. 


Literary Event

Time:  1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Place:  Dixson Room, State Library of NSW
Cost:  Members $25, non-members $40

Christmas Performance

Lanneke Jones is a professional singer, choir director, adjudicator & teacher with extensive experience in a cappella music, jazz and early music. She is a passionate educator and believes in the restorative and therapeutic benefits of music in our lives, and loves sharing music with people of all ages.

Currently, Lanneke is music teacher and choral conductor at SCEGGS Darlinghurst, the Director of an educational program MusicNow, creating music education videos for 3-8 year olds, and directs the Community Choir Maribella – for Hummingsong Choirs.

Lanneke has worked with Opera Australia as a principal artist. She was also principal artist with the prestigious Song Company touring Australia and internationally for six years. She is a freelance performer with countless companies such as Cantillation, Sydney Philharmonia Motet, Bach Akademie Australia, has worked with jazz and pop bands, acted in plays and national arts festivals, and featured on numerous soundtracks, advertisements, and studio recordings. Lanneke has been a conductor of The Sydney Children’s Choir, Gondwana Voices and directed community a cappella choirs for over 20 years.

Together with accompanist Ruth McCall, she will include some classical repertoire – Caccini, Faure, Jazz, Gershwin and Christmas music – a piece that Ruth and Lanneke wrote together called Christmas Time and another beautiful piece about Christmas in Australia by Ruth McCall.



Member Speaker – Anne Ring: Engaging with ageing – what matters as we grow older

I am an 81-year-old health sociologist and freelance writer whose understanding of ageing matters comes from extensive experience, professionally and personally.

Professionally, I have a PhD in health sociology (completed in my 50s), researching health, body image and ageing issues as they were separately presented in popular media for women and for men, over a 50-year period, and I have continued to monitor the media on those topics as well as writing extensively about them in a variety of media. 

In addition, I have a broad social science background, with qualifications and professional experience in psychology (BA), medical anthropology (MA), and health education (Grad. Dip), and for several years I was principal researcher in medical education research at the University of Queensland (publishing as Anne Wise). 

Personally, I have experienced the sorts of opportunities that open up as well as some of the challenges that can come with growing older, through my continually increasing experience as an ageing person and also as a carer and advocate for my parents in their final years. This background has given me considerable understanding of the richness of life and sorts of complexities that we face and manage in our daily lives and our society as we age.

Drawing on my expertise on ageing, I have become a vocal pro-ageing and anti-ageism advocate, and I have been invited to speak in many arenas on these topics as well as about my book, which I wrote as a contribution to destigmatising old age. Titled Engaging with Ageing: What matters as we grow older, it is a comprehensive overview for women and men of what growing older is actually all about in our society, as just another stage in our lives, with its own highs and lows. It is a time to make the most of in our individual ways and circumstances, while accepting the need for and providing strategies for managing challenges up to and including the complexities of living in pandemic times as well as planning for a good death (not necessarily related!).

In addition, as a freelance writer, I write about ageing matters for a number of newspapers as well as – pro bono – for online media of various organisations for older people. And in another arena, as an enthusiastic photographer, I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of having some of my photographs winning prizes in art competitions.


Guest Speaker – Sarah Morley:  Reading and writing with Ethel Turner

Ethel Turner’s name is synonymous with Australian literature. She was a prolific writer and a voracious reader. In 2022, the State Library of NSW acquired Ethel Turner’s collection of 65 personal diaries. The diaries give a candid account of her rich and busy life from the age of 19 through to her 81st year. Interestingly, Turner records what she was reading and her connections in the wider literary community.  

State Library of NSW curator, Sarah Morley had the pleasure of working on this acquisition. Sarah’s work focuses on the acquisition, access, promotion and interpretation of the Library’s manuscript, rare book and children’s literature collections. She will share some of the literary discoveries she has made whilst working with this collection. 


Book and pay:

Members, you can book for yourself and a friend at member pricing, if purchased at the same time.

Workshop:  Members $40, non-members $55
Literary event:  Members $25, non-members $40

Discount for full program (Workshop and Literary Event) when booked together:  
Members $60non-members $85

By Credit card:

or by Direct debit:

      The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc
      BSB: 062 018
      Account:  00950433
      Code:  VM

      Email Amanda and include
      your name, receipt number and date of event