South Korean-born Sun Lyoung Kim has won the NorthWrite 2016 Competition for Northland writers with a story outlining the experiences of emigrating to a new country.

Ms Kim, who lives in Whangarei, grew up in South Korea and emigrated to New Zealand 20 years ago. Her winning story Floating Island explores the experience of emigration. Ms 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.

The one-off competition held by the Northland branch of the Society of Authors was open to any writer 18 years and over who was resident in Northland. The prize was attendance at a national writers' event worth up to $700, and Ms Kim chose last week's Auckland Writers' Conference.

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She has completed a Diploma in Applied Writing at NorthTec and is studying to become a teacher. Her work has been published by Learning Media Ltd and LIFT Education, and she writes a regular column about New Zealand education in the Korean Federation of Teachers newsletter.

The competition judges were writer and educator Mandy Hager and novelist and short story writer James George.

Ms Hager commented that Ms 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 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Entrants were asked to submit one piece of unpublished writing of up to 2000 words in any genre but inspired in some way by the land, people or history of Northland.

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

NorthWrite organiser Kathy Derrick said the competition was one of many ways the Society of Authors supports writers of all genres at any stage in their careers. For further information: https://northlandauthors.co.nz and for the national organisation www.authors.org.nz.