Queen Consort Holds Reception for Winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2022

The Duchess of Cornwall with one of the finalists in the Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2019 during a literacy event at Turanga Library, on the sixth day of the royal visit to New Zealand.


Thursday 17th November 2022

The Queen Consort will hold a reception for winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2022 at Buckingham Palace.

At the reception, Her Majesty will recognise young and talented writers from across the Commonwealth and pay tribute to the power of literacy and language in bringing people together in a speech to the assembled guests.

Following Her Majesty’s speech, extracts from the winning pieces will be read by Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Ambassadors including Alexandra Burke, Ayesha Dharker and Geri Horner. RCS Ambassador Gyles Brandreth will act as compère for the afternoon’s events, and closing remarks will be given by Dr Linda Yueh, Executive Chair of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

On arrival, Her Majesty will meet Dr Linda Yueh, Executive Chair, the Royal Commonwealth Society; Mr Gyles Brandreth, Author, Broadcaster and Actor; this year’s winners and RCS Ambassadors who will give readings of this year’s winning entries including Alexandra Burke, Ayesha Dharker and Geri Horner.

The Queen Consort will also meet three previous winners and runners-up from 2020 and 2021, who were not able to attend an awards ceremony previously due to Covid restrictions.

Her Majesty will make a speech before presenting awards to this year’s winners. Extracts from the essays of each winner will then be read out by the RCS Ambassadors. The winners and runners-up are aged between 13-17 years old and will travel from New Zealand, Australia, India and the UK to be presented with their certificates by the Queen Consort.

The final judging decision was taken by an expert panel, which included bestselling author Dame Susan Hill DBE; 2022 Booker Prize winner, Shehan Karunatilaka; Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2014 winner, Imtiaz Dharker; Head of Research for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Rev Dr Paul Edmondson; and 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner from eSwatini, Ntsika Kota.

The reception will be attended by the award winners and their families, final panel judges and notable literary figures from across the Commonwealth.

The winners and runner ups:

Sawooly Li, Senior Winner, 17, New Zealand

Sawooly Li is a 12th grade student from Rangitoto College in New Zealand. Reading and writing have always been second nature for her – a way of expressing visions, thoughts, and emotions. She loves drawing inspiration and learning from other great writers and their works. Both reading and writing are things which Sawooly aspires to continue far, far, into the future.

Madeleine Wood, Junior Winner, 14, Australia

Madeleine is 14 years old and lives in Melbourne, Australia. She loves travelling, particularly through Europe, and enjoys visiting the museums, historical landmarks and cities in each country. It is from these experiences that she gained a love for ancient, medieval, and renaissance history. She is also an avid reader, plays the violin and spends much of her time playing basketball or swimming.

Amaal Fawzi, Senior Runner-up, 17, United Kingdom

Amaal Fawzi was born in Egypt, raised in Lebanon, and now lives in East London. Most of the poetry and prose she likes to write is concerned with culture and identity. Her years in Lebanon formed the majority of her character and cultural experiences, so learning to interact with that in the UK has been a very interesting season. It makes for a lot of writing material, and she’d say that the way she writes is always personal and drawn somehow from her own life.

Maulika Pandey, Junior Runner-up, 13, India

Maulika has always enjoyed writing since she was a child as she feels writing gives her the power to express her feelings in a creative way. Maulika also enjoys sketching and playing the guitar. Basketball is her favourite sport. She aspires to be a successful entrepreneur but will continue writing in the future. She is a dedicated advocate for anti-bullying and body positivity.

Read more about the winners and their essays here: www.royalcwsociety.org/meet-the-winners

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