Today we were delighted to welcome to London the Winners and Runners-Up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2015. The Senior Winner, Paraschos Cant from Cyprus, the Senior Runner-Up, Tawanda Mulalu from Botswana, the Junior Winner, Nathan Swain from Tristan da Cunha, and the Junior Runner-Up, Martina Watler from the Cayman Islands, were selected by our panel judges in August following a long judging process which began in June and benefited from the input of 96 judges from all across the Commonwealth.
After more than a month’s wait, the four young writers (some still jet-lagged) began their day by being eagerly introduced to members of RCS staff over welcome teas and coffees at the High Commission of Cyprus in St James’s Square. With introductions completed, the first activity of the day got underway with Alison Milford, a freelance children’s author and educational writer, leading a writing workshop.
The workshop provided an opportunity for Parachos, Nathan, Tawanda and Martina to find out more about one another, to share ideas and to bond over set creative tasks. From Word Art posters to Shared Sensor Poetry, the session aimed to stretch and challenge the Winners and Runners-Up, and to provide new techniques to take away and use in their future writing.
After the workshop, Paraschos, Tawanda, Nathan and Martina were treated to brilliant views of London’s skyline from the tallest building in Europe – the iconic, pyramidal, Shard. Instantly recognisable, the Shard has become one of London’s most popular tourist attractions thanks to the panoramic views it offers, and all four winners were excited – as were the adults – to spot some of London’s key attractions from its glassy observation deck. Though busy, the afternoon ended on a high, with great anticipation for the activities to come.