An opportunity for young Commonwealth citizens to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences on key global issues and have their hard work and achievement celebrated internationally.

About the Competition

The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world's oldest international writing competition for schools, established in 1883. With thousands of young people taking part each year, it is an important way to recognise achievement, elevate youth voices and develop key skills through creative writing.

For 2021 the Competition theme is Community in the Commonwealth. With the global spread of COVID-19, we've seen the lives of many Commonwealth citizens affected. However, through adversity, societies came together and stories of growth, community and hope continue to emerge. View the topics for 2021.

Each year, aspiring young writers are asked to submit their pieces in response to a theme. Recent themes have included Climate Action in the Commonwealth (2020), A Connected Commonwealth (2019), Towards a Common Future (2018), A Commonwealth for Peace (2017) and ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ (2016); drawing out innovative ideas for positive change and encouraging entrants to consider new perspectives. The theme is rooted in Commonwealth values, providing an interesting introduction to the network and allowing young people to explore their own connection to the Commonwealth, whilst fostering an empathetic and open-minded world view.


The Society has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth and we endeavour to promote literacy, expression and creativity by celebrating excellence and imagination. The Competition invites all young Commonwealth citizens and residents, regardless of region, education or background, to share ideas, celebrate their story and have their voice heard. Through partnerships with Book Aid International, Worldreader and the National Literacy Trust, the Society is working to increase access to this opportunity for a wider range of young people.

All entrants and all participating schools receive a Certificate of Participation and 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. For more information about the competition, please see Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.