The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest international schools’ writing competition. This year, it was launched in Christchurch, New Zealand, by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. It provides a unique platform for young writers to share their story and have their say on global issues. The theme for 2020 is ‘Climate Action and the Commonwealth’. The Royal Commonwealth Society wants to hear how climate change is affecting the lives of young people across the Commonwealth.
We’re going to look back at 2019 for some examples of how participants approached the creative writing task at hand. They were asked to write on the theme of “A Connected Commonwealth”, considering how cultural, technological and environmental links can bring positive change across the Commonwealth. The winner in the senior category was Catherine Wang of Canada, a student in the University of British Columbia’s transition program. Ms Wang wrote a poem entitled ” Beached.” It tells of the heart-breaking experience of three passers-by discovering a whale washed up on a beach. Its description is vivid and lyrical, and highlights the importance of working together to tackle environmental damage. When told that she had been chosen as the senior winner, Ms Wang said: “it was an emotional rollercoaster, with the cart slowly climbing in disbelief, only to suddenly become pure excitement upon the descent.”
The senior runner-up was Nnemdi Ozoemena of Nigeria. Ozoemena’s story entitled “Hello” tells the story of two young people struggling with social problems. After losing themselves, they bond over shared interests and embark on a strong friendship. A judge described Ms Ozoemena’s story as “a shop window of how youth are speaking to each other today”. On being named Senior Runner-up, Ms Ozoemena said ‘‘It feels really good to know that my portrayal of issues that I view as important was able to come through to people and hopefully make them feel something.’’
The QCEC is an opportunity for all young Commonwealth citizens and residents, regardless of region, education or background, to share ideas, celebrate their story and have their voice heard – all whilst developing key skills. For 2020, we encourage all citizens and residents of the Commonwealth aged 18 and under to give creative writing a go! All entrants will receive a Certificate of Participation, while one Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a week of educational and cultural events.
By Snowy J.