Commonwealth Essay 2012 Honda
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.
Towards a Common Future
Building upon the 2017 theme of 'A Commonwealth for Peace', this year’s theme 'Towards a Common Future' and its topicsask young writers to explore how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in line with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.
Download the 2018 Flyer
Born between 2nd June 1999 and 31st May 2004 (14-18 years of age)
- The road to a safer future.
- How does education contribute to a fairer future?
- ‘Healthy, Wealthy, Happy, and Free’: is one more important than the others?
- Future generations have rights too, which must be defended. Discuss.
Born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age)
- What does a 'safer future' mean to you and your community?
- Write a recipe for a common future: what ingredients will you need? What is the best method for making it? What will it look like?
- ‘A Day in the Life’. Imagine you are your country’s Head of Government for the day: how will you build a better future for young people?
- Our Common Earth.
Judges described entries to the competition in 2017 as ‘emotive’ ‘hauntingly assuring’ ’striking’ and as having ‘powerful narratives’, that ‘this letter should be read by everyone’. We expect a similiarly high calibre of writing for 2018.
The competition is open to all citizens and residents of the Commonwealth aged 18 and under until 1 June 2018. All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a week-long series of educational and cultural events. For more information about the competition, please visit Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.
Don’t forget to stay in touch with the RCS by signing up to our newsletter.
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.
This year has been a record-breaking year for the Commonwealth Essay Competition. Not only has the competition received in excess of 11,000 entries, but over 70 judges have been involved in the judging process and the standard of entries has been excellent.
As the competition celebrates its 130th anniversary, it is evident that the competition remains an important means of expression for young people across the Commonwealth, as over 830 schools across 55 Commonwealth countries and territories participated.
For 2013 the theme of the competition was 'Opportunity through Enterprise'. The judges were impressed at the creativity and research that entrants displayed in approaching the topics.
As ever, there was an extremely high standard of entry as participants competed with their peers from every corner of the Commonwealth, so to win an award is a big achievement.
We are delighted to announce that over 2,000 entries won awards, with the top prizes going to New Zealand, Guernsey, Canada and Hong Kong. The judges also selected a number of excellent Gold entries from both the Junior and Senior Categories to receive special commendations.
The top two Prize Winners will be flown to London for a special awards ceremony in the autumn and the Runners-Up will be invited to local awards ceremonies.
All Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will receive certificates before the end of 2013 and entrants who didn't receive an award this year are entitled to certificates of participation.
Congratulations to all winners and thank you to the Commonwealth Essay Competition 2013 sponsors Cambridge University Press for their support in this record-breaking year!
Senior Prize Winner
Katherine McIndoe, 19 years old, New Zealand
Click here to read Katherine's entry.
"You can really hear Katherine's voice in this entry. It is well researched and structured and elicits a strong emotional response from the reader. Katherine takes a powerful idea and makes it accessible. Whilst keeping a dual focus on the girls she is addressing (the entry is called "A letter to the lost girls") and her reader, Katherine holds the tension of this throughout with clarity and skill. It is really impressive to write like this when still so young!" Senior Judging Panel 2013
Abby Wells, 16 years old, Canada
Click here to read Abby's entry.
"Abby's essay is a genuine, personal entry offering an original approach to the topic 'Are we too risk-conscious these days?'. The structure and focus which Abby maintains throughout is a skilful, smart and sophisticated treatment of childhood. The writing has a simplicity in the way it deals with a complex subject and it displays a light touch. This was a very serious contender for the first prize." Senior Judging Panel 2013
Junior Prize Winner
Tabitha Carr, 12 years old, Guernsey
Click here to read Tabitha's entry.
"Tabitha's entry is authentic, poignant and moving. The Panel particularly liked the concise use of language and the telling images. There are no superflous words. Tabitha takes the reader on a journey into another world and leaves them wanting to read her story again and again. She demonstrates social awareness and confidence in what she writes. The opening and concluding paragraphs very simply and effectively locate the story in relation to the topic "Is change a good thing?" The Panel wondered what it would be like to hear the story performed or read aloud and they wondered where the name "Silverfox" came from!" Junior Judging Panel 2013
Catherine Yu, 9 years old, Hong Kong
Click here to read Catherine's entry.
"Catherine's entry is an extraordinary approach to the topic "Is change a good thing?" which satisfyingly turns full circle in its description of a mountain and the changing seasons. The writing is creative, authentic, poetic, imaginative and witty. The style is concise and sophisticated. It demonstrates emotional depth and attention to texture. The descriptions are excellent. The end result is to leave the reader feeling satisfied and uplifted." Junior Judging Panel 2013