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writing competition

Feb 03, 2020 2020-02-03

Funding & Recognition

Essay Competition Introducing Korean Culture Through Literature

The Sejong Writing Competition, presented by the Sejong Cultural Society in collaboration with the Korea Institute, Harvard University, and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, introduces students to Korean culture through literature and poetry. The competition is open to all residents of the United States and Canada regardless of ethnic background.

Two essay categories are open to students:

* The Senior Division (grade 12 and below) is based on Cranes (1953) by Hwang Sun-won. (The full text is available on the Sejong Cultural Society’s website.) Cranes was published just as the Korean War ceasefire was coming into effect. In their essays, students should point out those parts of the story that seem to suggest the possibility or hope of future reconciliation between the two main characters, and by extension, the two Koreas. They also should show how, more than a half-century later, Hwang’s story might be read as a more complicated rendering of the situation on the Korean peninsula than naively optimistic.

* The Junior Division (grade 8 and below) is focused on Korea’s rich tradition of storytelling and its folktales, which reflect important aspects of its history and culture. Students are invited to use the list of Korean folktales on the competition’s website to respond to one of the suggested prompts: Why do you think the folktale was created? Which character do you relate to best? Or if you could change one of these folktales, what would you change and why?

Essay contest winners in the Senior Division will each receive awards ranging from $500 (first place) to $300 (third place). Awards for winners in the Junior Division will range from $300 (first place) to $100 (third place).

Deadline: March 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (CT)

Reading/English/Language Arts Global Awareness Cultural Awareness Social Studies

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