Winner of the 2020 Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing: Open Creative Nonfiction Category

I am over the moon and beyond to have won the 2020 Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing in the Open Creative Nonfiction Category. This was incredibly special for me as it means an extract from my memoir manuscript is now published in the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing Anthology 2020 for the first time. You can download the eBook version of the anthology here.

You can also watch the announcement and reading from an excerpt of my work (read by actor Dennis Coard) at the 10min mark here.

Thank you so much to the judges Claire Coleman and Jeff Sparrow. In their judges’ report they say: ‘

‘As all our certainties collapse around us, we need truth, more than ever, but we also require writers with the poet’s ability to turn a phrase and make the familiar feel strange and the strange, recognisable.’

I feel very honoured and grateful to have won this prize.

MoB’s Artists @ Home Residency – Week 6

This last update brings  you my video poem ‘Why is this Passover Night Different?’.

This work plays on aspects of the Passover Seder; the Four Questions (Ma Nishtana), the Four Children (The Wise Child, the Rebellious Child, the Naïve Child and the Child who is Too Shy to Ask), and the Dayenu song (It would have been enough).

The Passover Seder includes the retelling of the story of the Jewish people’s escape to freedom from slavery, in a special order. This order can be followed along to, and read in a Haggadah. There are many Haggadah editions, and while they vary slightly, they all follow this same order, as a guide for families retelling the story at Passover. The Passover Seder also includes a festive meal. 

Matzah is unleavened bread (made from flour and water) and baked before it has a chance to rise. This symbolises how the Jewish people fled slavery in ancient Egypt in such a hurry there was no time for their dough to rise. They carried the dough on their backs in sacks through the desert. The dough was baked by the sun and turned into a flat cracker. Shmurah matzah are round matzot made by hand. Matzah balls are dumplings made from coarsely ground matzah meal. 

This work was created as part of Museum of Brisbane’s Artists @ Home Residency during Covid-19. Thank you again to MoB for this opportunity. I’ve enjoyed sharing my updates, process and video poems with you all.

Memoir through Poetry Workshop, 26 July 2020

I’m very excited to be running an upcoming online ZOOM poetry workshop through the wonderful Avid Reader. Book your place here.

Join me online on Sunday 26 July from 1pm-4pm, as we explore using our memories as a springboard for writing poetry.

This poetry workshop will include a talk about my experience of writing memoir poetry, a poetry reading from my collection Amnesia Findings, poetry exercises and prompts, and I will leave time to answer all questions poetry.

This workshop will focus on:

– The dark and light of memoir poetry. 
– Memory (and gaps in memory) and how poetry is the perfect form to express these short vignettes.
– Our poetry journeys and how we came to poetry or how poetry found us.
– Storytelling through poetry and snapshots we can use from our lives to inspire poems.
– Reclaiming a sense of agency for our stories through poetry by working through ideas and experiences we want to understand further. 
– Using simple language and vivid imagery in poetry to evoke strong emotional responses.

To book a place, visit the Avid Reader website here. I look forward to seeing you!

‘The Last Postman’ has arrived!

I’m so thrilled that my contributor’s copies of my poetry chapbook The Last Postman have arrived today! Thank you to Michael Brennan and Michelle Cahill for having me as part of Vagabond Press deciBels 3 series and for Michelle’s lovely words in her introduction to the series: Anna Jacobson’s surreal narratives riff on memory, desire and destiny with stylised Mozartian grace in The Last Postman. The train carriage becomes a framing device for her beguiling stories, echoing exile, survival and post-memory.

To order a copy of The Last Postman, please click here.

To read more of Michelle’s deciBels 3 introduction, please click here.

Holding my copy of ‘The Last Postman’ in front of a detail of my artwork ‘The Letters’.

‘The Last Postman’ Poetry Chapbook

I’m thrilled my poetry chapbook The Last Postman, is coming out as part of Vagabond Press deciBels series 3. In The Last Postman, a girl delivers letters addressed to travellers in carriages on a train. The Last Postman is a chapbook of unusual poetic letters that give intimate glimpses into the lives of everyday characters. With themes of the domestic, yearning, hope, and a hint of magical realism, these are poems of quiet and acute observation grounded in the experience of a familiar contemporary urban environment.

You can preorder your copy here, which will arrive at the earliest from the end of March.

‘The Forest’ and ‘Icy Fruit’ Published in ‘Our Home is Dirt by Sea’ Anthology

darks forest trees against a teal background and stars shining through

Anna was excited that her poems ‘The Forest’ and ‘Icy Fruit’ were selected by Di Bates for Our Home is Dirt by Sea (Walker Books), an anthology of poetry for children. Below are her poems.

The Forest

Silent as a mosquito whine just beyond hearing.

A lizard lies languid, tastes the air with its thick blue tongue.

A goanna runs up a gum tree, claws digging into bark.


A scrub turkey dashes across the path.

I sit on the timber seat halfway up the mountain,

careful of the red-back’s nest underneath.


Leaves dance with the first drops of rain. Birds call out.

A tree dribbles sap, sticky as honey. The downpour starts—

I am drenched in the forest’s earthy scent.

First published in Our Home is Dirt By Sea, Walker Books 2016


Icy Fruit, Published in Our Home is Dirt by Sea Anthology (Walker Books) 2016
Icy Fruit, Published in Our Home is Dirt by Sea Anthology (Walker Books) 2016

Shortlist – Queensland Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award

Anna was thrilled to be shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award at the 2016 Queensland Literary Awards. To be eligible for the awards, applicants had to be 30 or under and demonstrate a track record of work as a writer and a publication history. Applicants were also asked to submit a portfolio of writing and a CV.

The judges’ comments were: ‘Anna is a tremendously talented young poet and the judges were moved by the warmth of her poetry and the gentle touch with which she executes it. Her poetry on domestic spaces, familial relations, the rituals of food and Jewishness make hers a unique voice.’

Poem in 2016 Short and Twisted Anthology, Celapene Press

two photos side by side of legs standing next to a vase on the ground, the first with wilting tulips, the second with wilting yellow flowers

Anna was excited that her poem ‘Wilt’ was selected to be part of the 2016 Short and Twisted Anthology, published by Celapene Press. Her poem was inspired by her photography series Wilt, that documented flowers her mother had kept.


My mother keeps flowers until they wilt.

Late at night she picks out the drooping stems—

she tells me her mother did the same.

My father brings home a bunch for Rosh Hashanah.

By the third week, only one remains. Two months pass

and we check it’s not a plastic one thrown in by mistake,

by pressing on the petals with our fingernails,

leaving crescent marks. Three months pass

and my mother continues to change the water.


Four months pass and it mutates, edges expanding.

One night, the vase shatters. We sweep up the glass, wrap

shards in newspaper, eye the flower warily. Soon it takes

up the kitchen bench. The petals are big enough to cover

our round wooden table. We pull off the petals and use them

as tablecloths. Heirlooms to hoard in the linen cupboard.

Poem First Published in Short and Twisted Anthology 2016, Celapene Press