Read the winning entry in the Hard Truths essay competition

As part of The New York Times’ Hard Truths exhibition hosted by the Faculty of Arts in September and October 2019, we ran an essay competition for University of Melbourne students.

Students were asked to respond to the prize-winning photography on display and a prompt:

What has your life experience and the experience of those around you taught you about global migration?

The winning entry would be published in The New York Times Australia Letter and receive a $500 gift voucher.

We received dozens of fantastic entries to the competition.

Our selection committee, which included representatives from The New York Times and academics from our School of Culture and Communication and School of Social and Political Sciences, shortlisted three finalists:

  • Gina Song, a Bachelor of Arts student
  • Jessica Yu, a PhD candidate in Creative Writing
  • Elizabeth Kuiper, a Faculty of Arts alumna currently completing the Melbourne Juris Doctor

Each entry explored the prompt through the writer's own story and personal history. After careful deliberation, Gina Song's piece 'Future Tense' was chosen as the successful essay based on the "insight and lyricism packed into our 500-word limit".

'Future Tense' is a playful and poignant reflection on the power of a person's name when moving to a new country.

Congratulations Gina! You can read Future Tense in The New York Times Australia Letter.

Gina song with Dean of the Faculty of Arts Russell Goulbourne and Adam Kershaw, General Manager Australia - The New York Times

Image caption: Winner Gina Song with Russell Goulbourne - Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Adam Kershaw - General Manager, Australia at The New York Times.