Robyn Sykes, the current Australian Women’s Bush Poetry Performance Champion, uses her poetry to bring to life the people and issues of rural Australia. She has performed/ given workshops from Binalong to Benalla, Corryong to Cowra, Goulburn to Gulgong, Harden to Hall, Kiama to Kununurra, Norfolk Island to New Zealand, Tumut to Tamworth, Wombat to Wyndham, Yeoval to Young.
Her interest in the performing arts was kick-started in 1969 when as an 11-year-old she won the NSW Arts Council’s Best Junior Actress (Under 17) in New South Wales. After graduating from and working at Sydney University, in 1983 Robyn moved with her BSc (Hons) to her husband’s family farm near Binalong, where she spent the next 30 years writing, observing and learning. She raised four sons, had short stories and articles published, edited the Yass Tribune and was Victorian Women’s Bush Poetry Performance Champion three times.
In 2014 her first book and CD, Voices of the Fire, was shortlisted for Album of the Year in the Australian Bush Laureate Awards, with her poem Lovely Lies shortlisted for Published Poem of the Year and Old Bill’s Regret for Single of the Year. Both shortlisted poems had been previously published, in Award Winning Australian Bush Verse and Stories (Melbourne Books 2013, ed David Campbell) and The Bronze Swagman Book of Bush Verse, 2012 respectively.
Her 2013 credits include the Golden Damper (Traditional/Established), as well as the Bryan Kelleher, Henry Lawson (Gulgong) and Corryong Larrikin awards. She was an Australian Poetry Slam NSW finalist; Reciter of the Year Turning Wave Festival Yass; Poet in Residence Norfolk Island and Featured Poet at Bards, Ballads and Bulldust, Maniototo, New Zealand.
Robyn also performs as part of Sisters in Rhyme, a Yass/Binalong quartet who write in a range of poetic styles.