Aditya Choudhury, a 14-year-old student from Singapore and 16-year-old Ananya Mukerji from India were on Friday declared the senior winner and runner-up of the 2020 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, the world’s oldest such contest launched in 1883.
The results were declared during a virtual awards ceremony hosted by the Duchess of Cornwall. The event organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) included reading from the winning pieces by Indian actor Kareena Kapoor and British actor-writer Stephen Fry.
This year the competition’s theme was ‘Climate action in the Commonwealth’.
Choudhury’s essay was titled ‘Voices from the Blue World’, which imagines a grouper fish speaking at an underwater conference on the impact that climate change has had on the ocean community.
Mukerji wrote ‘The Waters Rise’, which imagines an impassioned call to recognise the impact of climate change on small island-states and the need to take action. The junior winner was Cassandra Nguyen (13) from Canada and Eleni Bazikamwe (10) from Ghana was the runner-up.
The Duchess of Cornwall said: “Amazingly, since the launch, there have been 12,888 entries from young people across the Commonwealth: one of the most successful competitions on record. I am incredibly proud of all of you for overcoming the year’s challenges with your outstanding creativity on this vitally important subject”.
Linda Yueh, RCS chair, added: “We are delighted that, during a period of great uncertainty and disruption across the globe, this year’s competition attracted almost 13,000 entries from nearly every country in the Commonwealth”.
Founded in 1883, the competition in the modern era gives creative young writers the opportunity to explore contemporary themes through the written word. The junior category is open to entrants aged 13 years and under and the senior category is open to entrants aged 14-18.