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Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021 for School Students [Exciting Awards]: Submit by June 30: Expired

Applications are open for the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021 for School Students.

About the Competition

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest international writing competition for schools, established in 1883. With thousands of young people taking part each year, it is an important way to recognise achievement, elevate youth voices and develop key skills through creative writing.

For 2021 the Competition theme is Community in the Commonwealth. With the global spread of COVID-19, we’ve seen the lives of many Commonwealth citizens affected. However, through adversity, societies came together and stories of growth, community and hope continue to emerge.

2021 Theme: Community in the Commonwealth 


SENIOR CATEGORY (born between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2007 (14-18 years of age))

  • Discuss the following: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King
  • Keeping connected through COVID-19
  • It’s been 30 years since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, what does the world look like
  • Imagine you are the Head of a Commonwealth nation heavily affected by COVID-19 and giving a national address at the end of the pandemic. What would you say to your community?

JUNIOR CATEGORY (born on or after 1 July 2007 (under 14 years of age))

  • The year is 2050 and you’ve been asked to write about the coronavirus pandemic for a museum. What story would you tell?
  • Tell a story of how you, or someone you know, helped others during the pandemic.
  • ‘We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again’ – HM Queen Elizabeth II. After the pandemic, you are seeing a friend for the first time. What new hobbies would you share with them?
  • What did you miss most during the pandemic?
  • The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories, as well as residents of Hong Kong, Ireland and Zimbabwe. Residents of non-Commonwealth countries whose entries are submitted through their local RCS branch are also eligible.
  • Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 30 June 2021. Senior entrants must be born between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2007 (14-18 years) and Junior entrants must be born after 1 July 2007 (under 14 years of age).
  • The maximum word counts are 1,500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries. There is no minimum word count. These word limits apply to all topics and all formats (essay, poem, letter, etc). Exceeding the word count will result in automatic disqualification. References and foot notes are not included in the word count.
  • All entries must be written in English
  • Entries can be presented in any form/method of creative writing. Pictures/Illustrations are particularly encouraged in the Junior Category.
  • One winner and runner-up will be chosen from each category. Winners and runners-up will be brought to London for a week of educational and cultural events, culminating in a special Awards Ceremony
  • A number of Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be given in both the Senior and Junior categories, rewarding excellence in writing. All successful entries will receive a Certificate of Participation.
Tips from the Judges

The following guidelines provide some useful insights from previous judges who have had experience recognising what makes a good piece of writing, and may help you get started on your submission:

  • Choose to answer one of the topics, and you are encouraged to interpret this in any way you wish.
  • Think carefully about the form of writing you use to answer the topic. There are a variety of forms and styles to play with.
  • Make sure to use your own voice and your own words. Judges are very good at spotting work that is not original.
  • We understand that English is a diverse language and there are different and innovative ways of using it around the Commonwealth. We encourage diversity and creativity of language in submissions.
  • Ensure you take into account grammar and punctuation whilst writing your piece. Do not submit an entry without proof-reading.
  • Presentation is important: think about the visual appearance of the entry as well as the quality of the content.
How to Submit?

Interested applicants can submit essays through this link.

Submission Deadline

June 30, 2021



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