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Commonwealth Class: winning short stories by teachers announced

12 December 2016

A teacher from India was announced today as the first prize winner of the Commonwealth Class teachers’ short story competition.

Second and third prizes were awarded to Ngozi Razak-Soyebi from Nigeria and Caroline Picking from the United Kingdom.

The competition is organised by the British Council and Commonwealth Secretariat through the Commonwealth Class initiative. Entrants were asked to write about the theme of ‘Belonging’.

Nandini Dasgupta’s story deals with the issue of families being so hard-pressed by poverty that they put their children up for adoption, in the hope that they will receive a better life.

The competition received over 3,000 entries in total from both teachers and school children from Commonwealth countries around the world. Each Commonwealth country has a rich heritage of storytelling which was reflected strongly in the stories.

Read the winning short stories online

The winners of the student categories of the competition will be announced on 23 January 2017.

The entries were judged by the children’s author and former Children’s Laureate for the United Kingdom, Anne Fine, and by the British Council’s Arts department.

Ms Fine said, “I valued this opportunity to read stories from so many parts of the world. Few of us realise how deeply our thoughts and attitudes are steeped in our own experience. To read about the more intimate aspects of people’s lives in countries I‘d known mostly through political reporting was not just enlightening but at times truly humbling. 

“I’m of the generation that learned about the richness and variety of the Commonwealth way back in primary school. But judging this competition reminded me of its sheer strengths and wonders, as well as making me even more aware of the enormous problems so many nations within it still face.”

“Writing can leave you knowing so much more, both about yourself and about the world that surrounds you.”

Commonwealth Class is a programme by the Commonwealth Secretariat and British Council to celebrate the values of the Commonwealth, and connect schools and young people across the world on joint learning programmes.

The initiative supports the work of thousands of schools in over 30 countries to enhance teaching and learning for teachers and young people. Find out more about Commonwealth Class