Zsófia Balla was born in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), Romania, into an assimilated Jewish family belonging to the Hungarian minority. At Kolozsvár Radio for thirteen years, she then worked for literary journals. In 1968, she published her first volume of poems, A dolgok emlékezete (The Memory of Things). In 1993, after the fall of Ceaușescu, Balla moved to Budapest, where she has lived ever since. Her poetry has won prizes in both Romania and Hungary. In addition to more than twenty volumes of poetry, Balla has written essays, opera librettos, and plays for the radio and puppet theatres.