The Many Hats of Logophile Kerry Sunderland

Writer, teacher, journalist, author …

Melbourne born and now living in Nelson, Kerry Sunderland has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington. She is the Readers and Writers Programme Coordinator for the Nelson Arts Festival, a Creative Industries Tutor at NMIT and is working on the final draft of her memoir “Beyond the Blue Door”. As well, she is a freelance journalist for “The Spinoff” among other online and printed publications. She has been part of the creative team involved in making (award-winning) feature length documentaries, a digital media producer, social media strategist, a radio producer and presenter, a sponsorship coordinator, project manager, marketing consultant and film reviewer.

The extensive list of Kerry’s accomplishments is indicative of the possibilities and realities of a career in writing. She is under no illusion about the struggle that many in the creative industries face in pursuing their chosen passion but has demonstrated in her own working life that it is possible to make a living from words. She believes it may mean combining creative and entrepreneurial skills to develop new models of publication (such as “The Spinoff”) and that digital media will continue to play an important role in creating new career pathways for writers.

Making the decision to write a memoir was sparked by personal tragedy. Kerry explains that for the first 20 years of her writing career she was just a “writer for hire”. But when her first husband died of cancer, she felt compelled to write her story. She admits it was petrifying at times but working through the Masters’ programme and having some “amazing mentors and incredible supervisors” and a publisher now being a champion for the work, she has more courage. Kerry is more comfortable with people knowing more about her life now, and she has learned how to express herself more openly. Paradoxically she is a very private person. “I don’t share a lot about myself on Facebook, so if/when the book is published, people will know a lot more about me than some of my Facebook friends do”.

Give me some space

In Object Design Lab (Level 5) we are learning to work collaboratively, and at speed. We had five minutes to produce a structure from plain cardboard boxes exploring the element of space – both positive and negative. Then we had to explain the thinking behind our spatial arrangements to the ever-watchful Bernard.

Have you looked at this from all the angles?