The Duchess of Cornwall Hosts Reception for Winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

The Duchess of Cornwall with Ng Woon Neng during a reception for winners of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition at Buckingham Palace in London.


Thursday 31st October 2019

The Duchess of Cornwall, Vice-Patron of The Royal Commonwealth Society, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, Patron of The Royal Commonwealth Society, will hold a reception for winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2019, Buckingham Palace, London SW1 1AA.

During the reception extracts from the winning pieces will be read by authors Geri Horner, Candice Cartey-Williams, Evie Wyld, Ben Okri and William Boyd. Gyles Brandreth will act as compère for the afternoon’s events.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest international writing competition for schools. It was founded in 1883 to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people throughout the Commonwealth.

In 2019, more than 11,000 entries were received on the theme of A Connected Commonwealthfrom almost every country in the Commonwealth. This year’s topic called upon young people to consider how they can work to use cultural, technological and environmental connections for positive change across the Commonwealth. It asked young people to consider the potential of the Commonwealth in strengthening the vast and varied links between citizens.

The winners and runners-up are aged between 12 and 18 years old and will travel from Canada, Nigeria, Singapore and Ghana to be presented with their certificates by The Duchess of Cornwall at Buckingham Palace. Read more about the winners and their essays here.

The final judging decision was taken by an expert panel of authors, directors and poets, which included Young People’s Laureate for London Theresa Lola; spoken word artist Jaspreet Kaur; Theatre Director Max Webster; Novelist Wendy Holden; Education Programme Manager at the Royal African Society Joanna Brown; and Theatre Director Femi Elufowoju Jr.

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

Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa

This year there is an additional runner-up in the Junior category, 11-year-old Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa. Kieran was tragically killed in a terrorist attack at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. His essay was the final piece of school work he completed and was entered posthumously by his mother, Dhulsini, who will attend the reception to receive his certificate.

The Royal Commonwealth Society

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), founded in 1868, is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Through youth empowerment, education and advocacy, the RCS promotes the value and values of the Commonwealth.

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