Four young writers have been awarded Winners and Runners-Up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016, the world’s oldest international schools writing competition. The winning essays were selected from approximately 13,500 entries spanning the five regions of the Commonwealth.
Representing nearly every Commonwealth country, entrants wrote about contemporary issues including the Syrian refugee crisis, conflict migration in Africa and finding a diasporic identity.
Senior Winner Inessa Rajah, 17, is from Durban, South Africa. Senior Runner-up Esther Mugalaba, 19, comes from Lusaka, Zambia.
The Junior Winner and Runner-up, Gauri Kumar, 13, and Tan Wan Gee, 14, respectively, are both Singaporean nationals.
Entries were assessed by a pan-Commonwealth body of judges, drawn from more than 30 different countries across the globe. Judges described the entries as ‘inspirational’, ‘ambitious’, ‘profound’, ‘moving’, ‘imaginative’ and stated that ‘the future of the Commonwealth is bright’.
The four pan-Commonwealth Winners and Runners-up will attend the traditional ‘Winners Week’ in London in October of this year; a special programme consisting of cultural and educational activities. The week will culminate in an Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace where HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will present the Winners and Runners-up with their certificates on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. This will be the third time that the Duchess of Cornwall has taken part in the Awards Ceremony.
Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Michael Lake CBE, said: “The four young people chosen as the Winners and Runners-up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016 represent the very best and brightest that the Commonwealth has to offer. Their essays and poems explore contemporary themes with maturity, intelligence and depth beyond their years. We are proud of them and the thousands of other young writers who entered the competition this year from all around the Commonwealth.”
Rod Smith, Managing Director of Education, Cambridge University Press: “The Royal Commonwealth Society shares our vision of empowerment through education, and we’re thrilled to be sponsoring The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition once again. The quality of the entries this year were exceptional, and all of us at Cambridge University Press would like to extend our congratulations to the winners.”