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.

Each year, young people are asked to write on a theme that explores the Commonwealth’s values and principles, fostering an empathetic and open-minded world view in the next generation of Commonwealth leaders. 

Recent themes have focused on the environment, inclusion, the role of youth leadership, and gender equality.  

Annually, winners are invited to travel to the United Kingdom for a week of educational and cultural activities, which culminates in a special Awards Ceremony, usually held at Buckingham Palace, that is hosted by the Society’s Vice-Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. 

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

In 2022, the competition will launch during Commonwealth Week (w/c 14th March 2022) and will close at the end of June.

Despite the significant interruption to children’s education caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 competition saw a record level of participation and we look forward to even more young people around the Commonwealth entering the competition in 2022! 


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 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.