Winner of NorthWrite competition announced

Sun Lyoung Kim pict

Sun Lyoung Kim at the Auckland Writers Festival.

The Northland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors is delighted to announce that Sun Lyoung Kim is the winner of the NorthWrite 2016 Competition for Northland writers.

This one-off competition was open to any writer 18 years and over and resident in Northland, and the prize was attendance at a national writers’ conference worth up to $700.

Sun Lyoung Kim is a Northland writer who grew up in South Korea, and emigrated to New Zealand 20 years ago. Her short story, Floating Island, explores the experience of emigration.

Kim said winning the competition gave her “a chance and hope”.

“It has helped open the gate to Kiwi society and my future,” she said.

Kim has completed a Diploma in Applied Writing at NorthTec and is currently studying to become a teacher. As well as developing her own writing, Kim hopes to inspire and support beginning writers.

She has been published by Learning Media Ltd and LIFT Education, and writes a regular column about New Zealand education in the Korean Federation of Teachers newsletter.

The competition judges were multi-award winning writer and educator Mandy Hager and novelist and short-story writer James George. George is of Ngāpuhi descent and calls Northland his “spiritual home”.

Hager commented that Kim’s story, “speaks to the spirit that brought many to Northland, a chance to start again and to redefine oneself in a new country.”

“What I love about this story is its emotional core, a very authentic look into the fear and torn loyalties of setting out across the world in search of a better future. It is honest, moving, and brings to life a culture rarely represented in current New Zealand writing. It is also satisfying as a story, its scope much broader than the word count, condensing whole lives and journeys into this moment of significant change. I feel richer for having read it,” she said.

Entrants were being asked to submit one piece of unpublished writing of up to 2000 words in length in any genre that had been inspired in some way by the land, people or history of Northland.

The judges highly commended the entries of Pamela Parkinson of Dargaville, whose narrative verse ‘The Green Dress’ tells another poignant story of emigration and Rae Radley of Batley, whose excerpt from her upcoming novel, Dreams are Free, explores the multi-layered history behind family taonga.

The winner could choose to attend one of six writing conferences held in New Zealand this year. Kim chose the Auckland Writers Festival, held 10 – 15 May 2016.

Competition organiser Kathy Derrick said the competition was one of the many ways the New Zealand Society of Authors supports writers at any stage in their careers.

“You don’t have to be published to become a member of the Society. In fact, many of our members are in the early stages of turning their writing into something they want to publish, whether it be a family or local history, their personal memoirs, a collection of their poetry, a non-fiction book on a topic that fascinates them, or a broad range of fiction genres,” she said.

Mrs Derrick said that the society provides opportunities for mentoring, assessing manuscripts that are in the early stages or nearly completed, access to competitions and awards, as well as advice and support through local branch activities.

For further information about the local branch go to and for the national organisation

For further information, please contact Kathy Derrick phone 09 407 3136 or email


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