Sandra has published internationally and nationally in journals including Verity La, Eureka StreetRight NowBurley, Hecate (University of Queensland), Axon: Creative Explorations (University of Canberra), Meniscus (University of Canberra), Australian Poetry Journal, Backstory and Other Terrain (Swinburne University).

Sandra is the winner of the 2020 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Poetry for her collection, Acting Like a Girl. Published in 2019 by Recent Work PressActing Like a Girl reflects on gender, sexuality and coming out in the Far North Queensland of the 70s and 80s.

She has been a featured poet, performing at the National Folk Festival Canberra in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.

In 2017 she was placed second in the University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize and in 2011 was short listed for the ACT Writers’ Michael Thwaites Award.

Her collections include:

  • It’s the sugar, Sugar (Recent Work Press, 2021)
  • Acting Like a Girl  (Recent Work Press, 2019), winner of the 2020 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Poetry.
  • The Orlando Files (Ginninderra Press, 2018)
  • Who sleeps at night… (Ginninderra Press, 2017)
  • One Last Border: Poems for refugees edited by Hazel Hall Moya Pacey and Sandra Renew (Ginninderra Press, 2015)
  • Flood, Fire and Drought edited by Suzanne Edgar, Kathleen Kituai, Sandra Renew and Hazel Hall (Ginninderra Press, 2015). This anthology explores the effect of weather events on the Australian landscape showcasing the work of twenty-nine Australian poets with a foreword by Dr Richard Denniss.
  • Projected on the Wall (Ginninderra Press, Pocket Poets series, 2015)
  • This is why a chap book of poems of protest (2015)
  • Inventing Siberia poems by Sandra Renew (2014)
  • Triage, a chapbook of poems on Afghanistan in collaboration with artist Karen Bailey, School Of Music Poets (2014)

With Moya Pacey, she co-edits the online women’s poetry journal, Not Very Quiet  and organises monthly poetry readings for women poets at Smith’s Alternative Café in Canberra.

She is the Convenor of Women out of lines: poetry of protest and dissent performing readings at the National Folk Festival 2019.

Sandra’s ongoing project is the interrogation of gender presentation and the LGBTIQAA gender discourses. Her poetry comments on contemporary issues and questions: war, language, environment, climate and the planet’s health, translation, dislocation, migration, terrorism, border crossings, dissent, gender, protest, human rights, freedoms, and is informed by many years working in war zones, in Indigenous communities and on the fringes of heterosexuality.


Images taken at Smith’s Alternative by Jacqui Malins