2018 Sejong Writing Competition
|Adult Division||Senior Division||Junior Division|
University of Georgia
North Shore Country Day School
D. Russell Parks Junior High School
San Diego, CA
Fort Lee, NJ
Bergen County Academies
La Canada, CA
La Canada High School 7/8
|Owen Ming Kong Hawes
Burnaby North Secondary School
Palos Verdes Estates, CA
Rye High School
Oakton Elementary School
San Jose, CA
Leigh High School
*Honorable Mention - Friend of the Pacific Rim Award
My name is Lucy Robertson, and I am a second year graduate student studying for a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia. My research focuses on the cross-cultural and transatlantic comparisons between literature of the 1950’s American South and that of Korean post-war (post Korean War) literature. My authors of choice include Flannery O’Connor and Hwang Sun-won, both of whose novels and short stories I study intensively in order to draw parallels between ideologies of the “New South”. Additional topics of interest include the significance of Southern Gothicism, Catholic identities in the South, post-war trauma, post-war familial disintegration, and elements of horror and grotesque realism. Currently, I plan to travel to Gwangju, South Korea during the summer of 2018 for an intensive Korean Language Learning Program. Afterwards, I also plan to study abroad for literary research and language training before completing my final graduate year at my home University.
I first heard about this opportunity through my fellow colleague. Knowing that I work with Korean literature, they encouraged me to apply and submit an essay. While I had read the works of Yi Mun-yol previously, never before had I attempted to create an in-depth analysis of his stories or novellas. Especially given the current political climate, I think Yi Mun-yol’s “An Appointment with My Brother” speaks volumes on a phenomenon that continues to redefine modern Korean culture. I would highly recommend this short piece to any reader, in the hopes that just as many people are moved by his work as I was.
Currently studying Comparative Literature, Korean Language, and Organizational Change at Northwestern University, I hope to continue Language and Translation Studies in Seoul a year after graduation and then return to work in the U.S.. In my lifetime.I hope to help translate and publish Korean literature into English as well as find a career in the intersections of language/media and technology.
Hobbies and personal interest:
Aside from reading and writing, I enjoy dancing with a hip-hop/ contemporary dance crew at Northwestern and being a part of the Northwestern club boxing team. I also am interested in food-systems and environmental-related issues; I spend a good amount of free time cooking good food and find good food in the Chicago land area ,as well as serving as president for Northwestern Real Food (a group shifting food sourcing on campus to more sustainable and just sources) and volunteering with food-insecurity related organizations.
My grandmother, she is the most hardworking and generous person I know. She was able to secure visas for my family to immigrate to the US in the 1980's and worked various jobs all her life to support our family and always encouraged my studies. She also my "language" role model, speaking Korean and Japanese fluently as well as writing in Chinese, English, and some German.
Where did you hear about this competition?
My Korean language professor Ihnhee Kim knew I was interested in Korean literature and recommended the competition to me. Thank you Professor Kim !
What did you learn while writing your sijo or essay?
The text taught me an alternate narrative and gave me a more humanistic perspective on the North Korea/South Korea divide. The American media often portrays North Korean/South Korean relations at extremes, whereas the text explored the area in between these extremes of animosity, curiosity, and subtle conflicts between family relations and how this ties in to national identity and political ideology.
My name is Isabella "Izzy" Cho, and I'm currently a sophomore at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka. Though I am fascinated by the current politics between North and South Korea, I feel that I too often draw my information from simply what is written on newspaper headlines or the Internet. Reading Yi Mun-yol's novella "An Appointment with His Brother" allowed me to develop a deeper, more personal connection to the Korean peninsular divide that continues to haunt both countries. Additionally, I was able to approach the prospect of reunification from a new, more critical lens, challenging conventional perspectives on the role both North and South Koreans play in this decades-spanning political impasse. Before submitting to Sejong this year, I had little experience engaging with Korean literature. However, I loved the process, and am looking forward to continuing my exploration of Korean literature in the near future.
My name is Jonathan Lloyd, and I’m a junior at Rye High School. I was first suggested to submit an essay for the Sejong Essay Competition by my mother, who is a native Korean. I learned Korean from her, and she was able to give me a lot of context about much of the history behind the novella that we wrote about, An Appointment with his Brother.
Special thanks to my mother for all her help, and to the Sejong Cultural Society for running this competition!back to top
My name is Jina Ryu, and I am currently a junior at Leigh High School in San Jose, California.
2018 is a year of monumental changes. From the PyeongChang Olympics to the recent inter-Korean summit, I have witnessed a complete shift in the dynamics of North and South Korean relations in a matter of a couple months. Thus, when my English teacher showed me the prompt for this year's competition, I readily took up the opportunity.
As a Korean-American, most of what I learn about my country comes from the media. The ensuing misconceptions that I developed about North Korea, such as the fact that they are robotic "non-humans," have prevented me from truly understanding the intricacies of reunification. The novella "An Appointment With His Brother," however, has cleared these up; by writing about his North Korean stepbrother, Yi breathed life into the people whom I previously thought to be robotic. Reading and writing about this novella was enlightening because it gave depth to my superficial understanding of North Korea and consequently pushed me to consider the factors and possible repercussions of reunification.back to top
My name is Luke Park and I am an eighth grader at Parks Junior High School. My favorite sport is fencing. Throughout the season, I travel all across the United States to compete at different competitions. My dream is to one day fence at the Olympics representing the United States.
When I was younger, my grandmother would tuck me in by reading me Korean folktales. Each night she would go to my bookshelf and guide me through each story by pointing to the pictures as she spoke. Therefore, when I heard about the Sejong Writing Competition, I immediately knew it was something I could easily write about. However, rereading the Korean folktales as I wrote my essay gave me a new perspective. Previously, I had just understood stories as humorous narratives which helped me fall asleep. But as I wrote my essay, I gained a deeper understanding, and a deeper appreciation for all those meaningful nights that my grandmother had spent with me. I would also like to thank the Sejong Cultural Society for giving me such an amazing opportunity to express not only my culture, but also myself.
My name is Adam Kakuk and I’m in seventh grade. My favorite hobbies are music composition, track and field, coding, writing stories, stop motion animation, and reading. I especially enjoy reading myths and folktales from around the world. I would like to be a fantasy author when I grow up because love to create mythologies and universes.
Entering the Sejong Writing Competition was a fun way to engage in the stories and culture of Korea. Reading the folktales confirmed for me that despite our differences, people around the world have so much in common. This competition challenged and improved my writing skills, and I am grateful for the opportunity to participate.
My name is Kaitlin Cobb. I am a sixth grader at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, California. My teacher, Mrs. Schneider, mentioned this Sejong Writing Competition to me, and I am so thankful she encouraged me to enter. I am beginning to love writing and this competition encouraged me in that love.
I love to play tennis, ski, and spend time with my family and friends. I have played many sports throughout my childhood, but I have especially loved tennis ever since I started playing at five years old. Tennis is a lifelong sport, and my dream is to play college tennis. I love to travel, and I often go to Aspen, Colorado. In the winter I enjoy skiing, and in the summer I enjoy hiking and biking. One of my other favorite places to go is Indian Wells. While there, I love to swim and bike.
I have loved animals all my life, and have two dogs. Though I am an only child, I consider my two dogs my brothers. I love the following quote because I feel it embodies me and my determined attitude: “I can. I will. End of story.”
My name is Dahee Jeong, and I am in fourth grade in Oakton Elementary School in Virginia. I enjoy reading, hanging out with my friends, and lying on a hammock under the shining sun! I am fond of both cats and dogs and can be seen playing with my friends’ pets.
I heard about this competition from Ms. Chang, who helped and encouraged me to write an essay for this contest. While I was writing this essay, I was able to re-read these fables with many different perspectives. They have inspired me to find more to experience the beauty of the writing.
I am honored to be part of this contest, and I hope the others enjoyed reading the traditional Korean fables as much as I did.back to top