The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition

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The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest schools’ international writing competition, managed by The Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. Every year, it offers all Commonwealth youth aged 18 and under the opportunity to express their hopes for the future, opinions of the present, and thoughts on the past, through the written word. The competition is used by individuals and teachers to build confidence, develop writing skills, support creativity and encourage critical thinking, using literacy to empower young people to become global citizens.

All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from both the Senior and Junior categories will be invited to attend Winners' Week in London. Past winners include author Elspeth Huxley, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong, and the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong.

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The 2017 Awards Ceremony and Winners Week

The 2017 Awards Ceremony, held in the picture gallery of Buckingham Palace, was a resounding success. Attended by more than one hundred distinguished guests and in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, our four young winners from across the Commonwealth were presented their certificates. The RCS is grateful to the Master of Ceremonies, Gyles Brandreth, and to David Walliams, Anne Fine OBE and Zen Cho for their wonderful readings of the winning entries.

Winner’s week 2017 was an exciting, educational programme, including trips to Westminster Abbey, Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre and The High Commissions of Australia and Canada. Our winners and their families were whisked around London experiencing first-hand the history and culture of the City, as well as exclusively learning about all the opportunities and adventures that writing can open the door to.

For more information about 2017 winners week read our blog

Find out about the 2018 Competition

History of the Essay Competition

The RCS has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth. We endeavour to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people by celebrating excellence and imagination. Run by the RCS since 1883, this international schools’ writing contest – the world's oldest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project.

In 2015, the contest was renamed ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition’, in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s role as both Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

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