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‘All stories and voices are very important,’ Camilla tells young writers

The duchess hosted a reception for winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition at Buckingham Palace.

The Duchess of Cornwall has congratulated winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition at Buckingham Palace.

Camilla told the young writers as she recounted the history of the royal residence: “Well done to all of you. Never mind the past.  Meeting you, I rather think the future is in good hands.”

The duchess spoke of how she wanted the competition to reach an ever-wider range of young people next year, adding: “For 2019, we want to hear all young people, regardless of age, education or region.

“All stories and voices are very important.”

Camilla was joined at the event, which she hosted on behalf of the Queen, by author and comic actor David Walliams.

Seventeen year-old Zahra Hussain from Pakistan won in the senior category with her piece Hues of Red.

It is described as a heart-breaking portrayal of child marriage and domestic violence in a traditional South Asian community which has an uplifting message of hope for a new generation.

Ng Woon Neng, 16, from Singapore, was the runner-up with her story An Odd Company about the competing concepts of wealth, health, freedom and happiness.

The junior winner was Janine Shum, 13, from Singapore, with Our Common Word: Two Voices which explores educational inequality through the voices of two 12-year-old girls – one from Afghanistan and one from Singapore.

Runner up was Floria Gu, 13, from Canada, with her poem Inheritance about a dystopian future of environmental devastation.

Some 12,000 young people from across the Commonwealth entered the competition which is the world’s oldest and largest schools international writing contest.

It was founded in 1883 to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people throughout the Commonwealth.

Camilla launched the 2019 contest during a recent royal tour to Ghana, declaring: “I believe in the power of the written word.”

The theme of the 2018 competition was Towards a Common Future, and the theme of 2019’s is A Connected Commonwealth.

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