The Commonwealth Essay Competition for 2013 is now open for entries from young writers of poems, letters, articles, stories, essays, or even short plays into the competition that celebrates and nurtures the creative talents of young people across the Commonwealth, providing a platform for students to compete with their peers in each of the 54 nations which make up this unique association.
Every year, the Commonwealth Essay Competition inspires thousands of young writers from all over the world. Run by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883, it is the world’s oldest and largest schools’ international writing competition.  For 2013, they’re delighted to announce that the Competition will be run in partnership with Cambridge University Press, whose support will enable them to engage even more young writers across the Commonwealth.
Worth of Awards
Winners stand a chance to :
Win a certificate
• Win resources for your school
• Be flown to London
• Be invited to meet famous authors; take part in workshops to learn newsskills; and do work experience at international organisations
• See your entry featured in RCS publications and worldwide media
The Junior Category (Under 14s) and the Senior category (14-18 years) will both have

  • Junior Prize Winner
  • Senior Prize Winner
  • Junior Runner Up
  • Senior Runner Up
  • Gold Awards
  • Silver Awards
  • Bronze Awards

Essay Topics:
Junior Category
(Born after 1st May 1999)

  • When has hard work paid off for you?
  • Creative thinking saved the day.
  • Tell us about a moment of opportunity which changed the life of your family, community, country, continent or the entire planet.
  •  Is change a good thing?
  • Senior Category

(Born between 2nd May 1994
and 1st May 1999)

  •  A funding agency has asked you to make a pitch for an idea involving schools that would benefit your community.
  •  “I knew this was my moment.”
  •  Discuss one or more examples of social and/or environmental development where enterprise plays, or could play, a key role in changing the way people live.
  •  “How enterprising!” a voice said as I closed the door behind me.
  •  Are we too risk-conscious these days?

Junior and Senior A bonus topic open to all entrants
“To boldly go …”

  • The Competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth  countries and territories.
  • Special dispensation applies to entrants from Hong Kong, Fiji and Zimbabwe who are entitled to enter the Competition.
  •  Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on how old they are on 1st May 2013.
  •  Entries must be written in English and be the original work of the writer.
  • Entrants are judged in two age groups, Junior (under 14 years) and Senior (14-18 years).
  • Entrants must submit an entry form alongside their entries and complete all the mandatory fields.
  • The maximum word-counts are 1500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries.
  • Entries must be the original work of the writer. This does not rule out input
  • or assistance from others. However an entry will be disregarded if there is any suggestion of plagiarism or undue help from the internet or another person.
    • Entrants are encouraged to be creative in their response to a topic. Entries can be submitted in a number of different formats: for example, a poem, letter, article, story, essay or even a short play.
    •  Entries must respond to the topic. Each year a number of good entrants let themselves down because they do not fully answer, or reflect on, what the topic has asked them to do.
    • Award-winning entrants are expected to show originality and flair, linked to sound academic standards and competent use of English as a written language. This includes a good standard of spelling and punctuation, neat presentation and clear hand-writing or word-processing.
  • Illustrations are welcomed, particularly in Junior entries, but they must enhance the written text and add to the overall quality of the entry.
  •  Entrants should be aware that the care with which they present their work will be taken into account whether writing by hand or using a computer.
  • Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet these requirements.

How to Apply
Entrants will be able to submit their essays online from the end of January 2013. You can also submit via their various postal address.
Via the internet
Entries can be submitted online
Please read all the information and follow the instructions carefully. It is
essential that entrants fill in the mandatory fields in the online entry form.
By Post
Please complete your entry form in block capitals and attach it to the front
of your essay.
Deadline: The closing date is 1st May 2013 and results will be announced in the autumn of next year.
For more details, download the 2013 Essay Competition leaflet here (pdf)