East London teen is runner up for Commonwealth writing prize, as winners are revealed

Amaal Fawzi was raised in Lebanon and now lives in East London (Royal Commonwealth Society )
Amaal Fawzi was raised in Lebanon and now lives in East London (Royal Commonwealth Society )

A teenager from East London was the runner up in a writing competition entered by thousands of young people around the Commonwealth.

Amaal Fawzi, 17, who studies English Literature and Creative Writing at university, was named senior runner up in the prize for her poem, ‘Nursing Homes’. She came second to Sawooly Li, 17, from New Zealand.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition (QCEC) is the world’s oldest international schools’ writing contest, delivered by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883.

Each year, entrants write on a theme that explores the Commonwealth’s values. Themes include the environment, community, inclusion, the role of youth leadership, and gender equality.

Born in Egypt to an Iraqi father and British mother, Amaal was raised in Lebanon, and has been writing poetry for many years.

Her time in Lebanon formed the majority of her character and cultural experiences. Her poetry and prose are inspired by how she interacts with this living in the UK.

Most of her work is concerned with culture and identity, and it’s always personal.

About 140,000 young people, over 5,000 schools and thousands of volunteer judges across the Commonwealth have participated in the competition in the last decade.

This year, its theme was ‘Our Commonwealth’, reflecting on Queen Elizabeth II’s seven decades of service to the Commonwealth.

They received 26,322 entries. The junior winner was Madeleine Wood, 14, from Australia. The junior runner up was Maulika Pandey, 13, from India.

More information can be found on the Royal Commonwealth Society website.