Kerry Sunderland
Freelance features writer; contributing author, Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety @VUPbooks 2018; @NelsonArtsFest Pukapuka Talks programme manager; host/producer, Deathwalker’s Guide to Life radio show/podcast.
Kerry Sunderland [she/her] was born and raised on Bunurong Country in Victoria, Australia, then spent 12 years living on Minjungbal Country on the far north coast of NSW before moving to Aotearoa in late 2012.

In 2016, she completed a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) at the International Institute for Modern Letters (IIML) at Victoria University of Wellington, during which she wrote the first draft of her memoir, Beyond the Blue Door. Kerry was joint winner of the 2018 Hachette Mentorship, in Australia, for a subsequent draft of Beyond the Blue Door.

Her personal essay, ‘Scared to Death’, was published in Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press, 2018). ‘Scared to Death’ deals with similar themes to Beyond the Blue Door. It is currently being adapted for the screen by Auckland-based producer David Jacobs and director Mia Maramara.

Kerry also works as a freelance journalist, writing features and people profiles for publications including New Zealand Geographic, NZ Listener, North & South, The Spinoff, Stuff/Nelson Mail and the Byron Echo.

Since 2018, Kerry has been the curator of the Nelson Arts Festival’s literary programme, Pukapuka Talks.

She also has broadcast experience as a film reviewer (ABC Northcoast, Australia) and radio presenter/producer (Fresh FM, Nelson, NZ). She has performed as a storyteller at events including 'Couch Stories' and 'True Stories, Told Live’.

In September 2021, Kerry launched a new radio show and podcast series about death and dying, Deathwalker's Guide to Life.

Kerry moved to Whakatū Nelson at the beginning of 2013. After living and working in a house bus for four and a half years and then owning a historic property in North Nelson, she is now part of an experimental ‘co-housing’ project near Motueka.
Professional experience
Nelson Arts Festival
Pukapuka Talks Programme Manager, 2018 - present
Write Across New Zealand
Residential writing retreat convenor & creative writing learning facilitator, 2018 - present
Write Across Media
Writer and editor, 2013 - present
Freelance journalist
News reports, feature articles and broadcast interviews, 1999 - present
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
Diploma in Writing programme coordinator & tutor, 2017 - 2020
Journey Beyond Road Trauma
Founder, 2008 - 2012
Evolve Media Consulting Pty Ltd
Owner/Director, 1999 - 2013
Education Image
Senior Consultant, 1992 - 1998
Master of Arts (Creative Writing)
Victoria University of Wellington, 2017
Graduate Diploma in Evaluation
University of Melbourne, 1995
Bachelor of Arts
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
(now RMIT University), 1991
For the past two decades, Kerry has worked as a professional writer, magazine editor and freelance journalist. Her words have appeared in New Zealand Geographic, NZ ListenerNorth & South, The Spinoff, Stuff/The Nelson Mail and Wild Tomato in New Zealand and Research News, Inside Film, Screen Education, Metro Magazine and HR Monthly in Australia. She was the Australian correspondent for UK-based magazine, Research World, for several years.