The 2020 competition attracted nearly 13,000 entries on the theme: Climate Action and the Commonwealth. 130 volunteer judges, drawn from 40 different countries across the Commonwealth, assessed the entries with the final judging decision taken by an expert panel of authors, journalists and poets, which included the writer Anthony Horowitz; written word poet Suli Breaks; journalist Matthew Parris; novelist Wendy Holden; award-winning YA author Zalika Reid-Benta; and the Commonwealth Writer's Prize winner and poet, Sia Figiel. 

The 2020 Winners and Runners-up were drawn from across the Commonwealth (Singapore, India, Canada and Ghana) and wrote inspiring poems, essays and narratives on the topic 'Climate Action and the Commonwealth'. 

In 2020 we were also delighted to host our first virtual Awards Ceremony. The virtual ceremony revealed the winners and featured readings of their award-winning pieces. The ceremony included notable literary figures, actors, and humanitarians from across the Commonwealth.

Ambassadors of the Royal Commonwealth Society, David Walliams and Alexandra Burke, were joined by British actor and writer, Stephen Fry, and Bollywood actress, Kareena Kapoor, to read extracts from the winning pieces during the ceremony.

The ceremony also featured highlights of workshops that the Winners and Runners-up had with the Society’s Ambassadors, Geri Horner (née Halliwell) and Lewis Pugh, to discuss their pieces on the theme of ‘Climate Action the Commonwealth.’

Meet the 2020 winners and runners-up


Senior Winner: Aditya Choudhury, Singapore, 'Voices from the Blue World'

Aditya Choudhury is a 14-year-old from Singapore. A ninth-grade student of GIIS, Singapore, Aditya is a fan of Star Wars, Marvel comics, Harry Potter, manga and graphic novels (not necessarily in that order!). He enjoys soccer, swimming and basketball, and credits the island’s National Parks for fostering his interest in the natural environment and wildlife welfare.

In his essay titled ‘Voices from the Blue World’, he imagined an underwater Commonwealth Conference of sea creatures in which the keynote speaker, a grouper, which is a native fish of Singapore, assures all the marine creatures of the Blue World that they have a bright future of coexistence with the human world – the Green World. Learning about the work done by Commonwealth nations to protect the oceans and browsing the Commonwealth Blue Charter website has been a hugely inspiring experience, which strengthened his belief that the Blue World of marine creatures and the Green World of humans can live like a wonderful brotherhood. The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition on ‘Climate Action’ has made him value the power of words to unleash change and shape our future!



Senior Runner-up: Ananya Mukerji, India, 'The Waters Rise'

Ananya is a student of Grade 11 doing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) at Dhirubhai Ambani International School. She has been writing creatively since she was 9 years old. Besides being passionate about writing, particularly poetry, she expresses herself through art and theatre.  She lives in Mumbai with her parents and her 2-year-old cocker spaniel, Tessa.





Junior Winner: Cassandra Nguyen, Canada, 'Actions Speak Louder'

Cassandra is Nguyen is 13 years old and lives in Ontario, Canada. She is in Grade 8 and currently attends Ashton Meadows Public School in Ontario, Canada.

She has enjoyed both reading and writing stories since she was very young and literature has always been important to her because when she reads a poem or a book, it almost feels like you are being taken to the world that the author created.



Junior Runner-up: Eleni Bazikamwe, Ghana, 'The Little Prince comes back to Earth'

Eleni was born on 5 January 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya, and is the daughter of a Belgian mother and a Greek-Burundese father. She has spent the first years of her childhood in Kenya and moved to Accra at the age of 5 where her father is currently working for the EU Delegation to Ghana.

Eleni joined the Ghana International School where she has made lots of friends and got a wonderful academic education, especially last year with Mrs Amponsah-Tawiah who taught her a lot about how to write great stories.

Throughout her travels across the Kenyan savannahs and the beautiful Ghanaian coast, Eleni has had the opportunity to see how wonderful the environment is, but also how vulnerable it is, which is why she was so happy to participate in The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition. She’s very much inspired by Greta Thunberg, but also enjoys playing the piano, reading Jaqueline Wilson books, playing tennis and baking all sorts of goodies.