Wednesday 06 December 2017


Young people are being asked to put pen-to-paper for a global story-writing competition.

The Commonwealth Class Short Story Writing Competition, a partnership between the British Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat, offers children aged 7-14 years a unique opportunity to celebrate the values of the Commonwealth through creative writing.

Tying in with this year’s Commonwealth theme, the stories are to be based around the subject of 'Peace', with the global competition judged by Northern Ireland’s first Children’s Writing Fellow, Myra Zepf, who is based at Queen’s University Belfast.

The winning Northern Ireland entry will then be invited to present their story at Peace and Beyond, an international conference taking place in Belfast in April 2018 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.

Speaking about the competition was Co Down Judge Myra Zepf.

She said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for local children to be part of a competition that literally spans the globe. We're famous for our story-telling abilities in this part of the world, so this is our chance to put Northern Ireland on the map. A competition like this provides a great impetus for children to put pen to paper and to exercise their imaginations. 

“As Children's Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland, I am on a sworn mission to get kids writing their own stories, so I am honoured and excited to be judging this competition. The theme of 'Peace' is a powerful and deeply-inspiring creative springboard which can be interpreted in so many ways. I really looking forward to reading the finished stories from all over the Commonwealth and to seeing the different narratives that this theme inspired in children.'

Also speaking about the competition was Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director, British Council Northern Ireland.

He said: “This competition is an excellent way for students through education and creative writing, to think deeply and creatively about what peace means to them and the value of celebrating our diversities and differences.

“The competition falls in line with our interest in arts, education and international peace-building and we are delighted to link it up with Peace and Beyond, an international conference to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement – which will reflect upon the experiences of peace processes and everyday peace building models form across the globe, as well as look forward and inspire innovative thinking in the field of peacebuilding.”

Participants must write a story set in their own country and can enter in one of two age categories. The deadline for entries is 9.00AM on January 2 2018. For more information, as well as story starters and writing tips from Myra, visit or

Teachers also have a chance to take part with a separate competition – for teachers writing for children. The deadline for this is 9:00 AM on February 12 2018. 

Commonwealth Class is a joint project between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the British Council. It has been running since 2013 and has already reached over 120,000 schools. The project aims to educate children aged seven to fourteen about the values and principles of the Commonwealth and to increase understanding about the lives of young people in other countries. It encourages students to collaborate and learn together, and consider how they can be more active and responsible global citizens.

Registration for Peace and Beyond is now open. For more information visit:

For more information on Commonwealth Class or other educational opportunities through the British Council, visit, Twitter: BCouncil_NI or Facebook:


Notes to Editor

For further information please contact: 

Claire McAuley, Communications Manager: T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI, Facebook – 

About the British Council

British Council Northern Ireland creates international opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.  A quarter of our funding comes from a UK government grant, and we earn the rest from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for, and from partnerships. For more information, please visit: