The 2020 Writing Competition is now open.

Deadline: March 31, 2020 (11:59pm CDT)

sijo competition | essay competition

Essay category

Focusing on introducing students and young adults to Korean culture and history through literature, our essay category utilizes folk tales and contemporary literature to explore Korean culture, past and present.

Adult division (age 30 and younger) and senior division (grade 12 and younger): Contestants are to read Hwang Sun-won's short story "Cranes" and write an essay in response to the provided prompt. Please note the age limit for the adult division has been increased to age 30.

Junior division (grade 8 and younger): Contestants are to write an essay in response to one of two provided prompts regarding a folktale of the contestant's choice. Contestants must choose one of the stories listed on our folktales page.

Sijo category

Adult sijo division

We are delighted to announce our adult sijo division, open to everyone age 19 and older. Our pre-college division will still be open to students age 18 and younger. Please find updated prize information on our sijo competition page.

Created in collaboration with the Korea Institute at Harvard University, the goal of our sijo category is to introduce students to a lesser-known style of poetry, the traditional Korean sijo. Read about how to write sijo, or see last year's winning entries.

Registration and applications

Regarding our online application system, we would like to remind students that they may edit their entries and applications until the competition deadline.

For information regarding teacher accounts, please see our teacher information page.

We would like to stress that all personal information is kept strictly confidential and no information is shared with parties outside of the Sejong Cultural Society. Please email any questions or concerns to We welcome and appreciate feedback of any kind.


The goals of the Sejong Writing Competition are to discover children and young adults talented in writing and to encourage them to learn and write about Korean and its culture. Through this writing competition we hope to increase the awareness and understanding of Korea’s cultural heritage amongst the younger generations growing up in the United States.


This competition is open to all residents of the US and Canada regardless of ethnic background.


The Sejong Writing Competition is supported in part by grants from the LTI Korea, the Daesan Foundation, the Doosan Yonkang Foundation, and the Academy of Korean Studies.