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17-year-old Zahra Hussain wins the British Commonwealth essay competition 2018!


17-year-old Zahra Hussain wins the British Commonwealth essay competition 2018!

17-year-old Zahra Hussain wins the British Commonwealth essay competition 2018!

There’s no dearth of Pakistani talent and Zahra Hussain, a student at the Lahore Grammar School International in Lahore has proved this by winning an essay competition organised by the British Royal Commonwealth Society. 

She submitted her essay titled Hues of Red in the competition earlier this year – a short story based on the regressive but still popular practice of child marriage and domestic violence prevalent in South Asia. Zahra wrote the story in the hope of building awareness about the issue among the youth as well as to cast a beam of hope that one day we will be able to eradicate this evil practice. Her essay received rounded acclaim from the jury and resulted in her winning the top prize in the competition.

Zahra expressed her gratitude upon receiving the news of her victory and said that she could not believe that she had actually won against 12,000 contestants from all over the world. “I’m mostly in disbelief, because it’s such a huge honour, but once I get past that I think I’ll be incredibly excited,” she said.

Of course, people had a lot to say on social media as soon as the news broke. Some expressed their pride in young Zahra and as with all such news items, re-discovered their own sense of patriotism:


Image source: Facebook

And of course, where patriotism comes in, it has to be followed by our (misplaced) adulation towards India:

Arundhati Roy

Image source: Facebook

But Zahra herself was quick to reply:

Mohsin Hamid

Image source: Facebook

Some complained about the ‘bakwas’ system which fails to recognise talent:

And of course, there were the ‘Zahra Defenders’ ready to retaliate in the face of any punches thrown her way!

Friends are awesome, right?

The Royal Commonwealth Society also congratulated the young author as well as the other winners in a Facebook post:

THE RESULTS ARE IN! 🎉🎉We're absolutely delighted to announce this year's Winners and Runners Up! From all across the…

Posted by The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition on Thursday, September 13, 2018

“We are delighted to announce the Winners and Runners-Up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2018. Senior Winner Zahra Hussain, 17, is from Lahore, Pakistan and Senior Runner-Up Ng Woon Neng, 16, is from Singapore. Junior Winner Janine Shum, 13, is from Singapore and Junior Runner-Up Floria Gu, 13, is from Vancouver, Canada.”

Expressing her love for writing Zahra said, “Your writing style can be as diverse as you want it to be – it’s a very unique kind of freedom, and I absolutely adore it!”

Not only has this young girl written a story well enough to win top prize in an international competition with contestants from all across the world, she has written about an issue which should have been addressed and eradicated yesterday!

More power to you Zahra! May you continue to shine and make Pakistan proud!

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