top of page


​The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition (QCEC) is the world’s oldest international writing competition for schools and has been delivered by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. It has been delivered in Her Majesty The Queen's name since 2015, in recognition of Her Late Majesty The Queen’s selfless commitment to the Commonwealth and, in the past decade alone, the competition has engaged over 140,000 young people, 5,000 schools and 1,000 volunteer judges.

The QCEC seeks to introduce young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, under-represented demographics and remote communities to the idea of writing for fun, developing key literacy skills and working to increase academic attainment. Through its promotion of literacy and writing skills, the QCEC contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education) in over 60 countries and territories and the Society aims to reach even more young people throughout the Commonwealth in the coming years through our digital literacy initiative. 


Each year, young people write on a theme that stems from the Commonwealth’s values and principles, developing key literacy skills whilst also fostering an empathetic and open-minded world view. Recent themes have focused on the environment, inclusion, the role of youth leadership, and gender equality. Their pieces drew out innovative ideas for positive change and encouraged young people to consider new perspectives.

Past winners have gone on to become leaders in their fields, including the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong, and the renowned author, the late Elspeth Huxley CBE.

As Vice-Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society Her Majesty The Queen Consort is a passionate supporter of shining a spotlight on the importance of literacy across the Commonwealth. Annually, winners of the QCEC are invited to travel to the United Kingdom for a week of educational and cultural activities, which culminates in a special Awards Ceremony, held at Buckingham Palace, that is hosted by Her Majesty. As part of the BBC's Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II, our Vice-Patron spoke to the BBC Cultural Frontline about the importance of literacy and the competition for a special programme, 'Celebrating Commonwealth writing' with previous competition winners Hiya Chowdhury and Ethan Charles Mufuma. 

All entrants and all participating schools receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories win a trip to London for a week of educational and cultural events. For more information about the competition, please see Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is supported by the Lagos State Government.

00:00 / 26:53
bottom of page