Step into an evening of grand theatricality as our writers and performers dazzle us with mystical tales, dipping their toes in the dark landscapes of ghosts and golems.

Prepare to be enchanted, entertained, and transported across the shtetls and oceans of your dreams, all the way from Prague to Ripponlea.

Hosted and curated by award- winning author, playwright and performer Elise Esther Hearst, and featuring the incredible talents of international authors Eleanor Reissa (USA), Marina Benjamin (UK) and Hila Blum (Israel), and local writers and performers Bram Presser, Arnold Zable, Alex Skovron, Tami Sussman, and Evelyn Krape. With haunting artworks from Anita Lester as well as live music from Susan-Ann Walker (piano), Helen Mountfort (cello) and Alice Hurwood (cello).

Set Design: Dann Barber

Event image: Anita Lester, from her book The Hidden Farmacopeia


Elise Esther Hearst

Elise Esther Hearst is an award-winning Melbourne-based playwright, author and performer, working and living on Boon Wurrung country. Her debut novel, One Day We’re All Going to Die, was published by Harper Collins in 2023 and was shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year Award 2024. Her second novel will be published in 2025….

Eleanor Reissa

Eleanor Reissa is a storyteller in English and Yiddish – her first language. She is an award- winning director and playwright, actress, singer, translator, choreographer, and author. She was last seen on Broadway in ‘Indecent’, plays the matriarch in ‘The Zweiflers’, winner of the Cannes TV Series Award 2024, and has an anthology, The Last…

Marina Benjamin

Marina Benjamin’s books include the memoirs Last Days in Babylon (longlisted for the Wingate Prize), The Middlepause (finalist for the Art Foundation’s Creative Non-fiction Award) and Insomnia. Her essays have appeared in Granta, Aeon and the Paris Review and her journalism is published in Prospect, The Guardian, The New Statesman and New York Times. Her…

Hila Blum

Hila Blum lives in Jerusalem where she was born and raised. In her youth she also lived in Hawaii for two years. She began her professional career as a journalist, writing feature articles, profiles, personal columns and book reviews. Hila has been a literary editor for the past 27 years. Her second novel, How to…

Bram Presser

Bram Presser is a semi-reformed punk rocker, recovering academic and lapsed lawyer. His novel, The Book of Dirt, won the National Jewish Book Award for Debut Fiction (USA), the Voss Prize and three categories at the NSW Premiers Literary Awards. In his spare time, Bram reads, reviews, blogs and judges literary prizes.

Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable is an acclaimed writer, novelist, much-loved storyteller, and recipient of an Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. His books include Jewels and Ashes, Cafe Scheherazade, The Fig Tree, Scraps of Heaven, Sea of Many Returns, Violin Lessons, The Fighter, The Watermill, and forthcoming, The Glass Horse of Venice, beautifully illustrated by…

Alex Skovron

Alex Skovron is the author of seven collections of poetry, a prose novella and a book of short stories. He was born in Poland, lived briefly in Israel, and migrated to Australia as a boy. His most recent collection is Letters from the Periphery; his earlier volume of new and selected poems, Towards the Equator,…

Tami Sussman

Tami is a Sydney-based author with background in theatre, comedy and spoken word poetry. She facilitates creative writing workshops for school students and contributes humorous op- eds for online and print magazines. Tami wrote the best-selling picture book Tiny Tradies and her debut middle grade novel So That Happened … But Maybe You Already Knew…

Evelyn Krape

Evelyn Krape is artistic Director of the Kadimah Yiddish Theatre. In 2023 she completed a highly successful season of Bloom and also A Very Jewish Christmas Carol for the Melbourne Theatre Company. In March this year, Evelyn performed in the award-winning production of Yentl at the Malthouse Theatre, and will be reprising her role at…