Commonwealth Nonagenarians Life Story Project

CommonAge collation of life stories told by nonagenarians to young people living in the Commonwealth in 2017

Project guidelines

Young people living in Commonwealth countries are invited to submit an essay based on interviews they have conducted with nonagenarians living in their home country as part of CommonAge’s story project.

We also welcome essays involving interviews with couples who are nonagenarians.

Essays submitted will be considered for inclusion in a special book, which will be published to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 65 years as Head of the Commonwealth in April 2018.

Awards will be given to the five best essays and these will be announced before the book launch at the inaugural CommonAge “Commonwealth Elders’ Forum” in the UK in April 2018. This forum is linked to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Guideline for the content

You can take the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For example, the Queen’s life was influenced by World War Two and shaped by the early death of her father in 1952 whilst her marriage and children have been a thread of continuity throughout her life. Her Majesty has also seen immense technological developments in transport, communications and entertainment which have influenced her everyday life. Her life has been an inspiration and stabilising influence to many, and by her example, she has contributed to and personified the 2017 Commonwealth theme of a “Peace Building Commonwealth”.


– All entrants will receive a certificate of participation

– The top 5 entrants will each receive £100

– The author of stories selected for the book will receive a copy of the book and will be acknowledged in the book

Terms and conditions of entry are:

The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories.

  • Age: You must be aged between 15 and 24 years old on 31st October 2017
  • Author introduction: Your submission must include an introduction of up to 250 word about you (the author), the older person and your county
  • Photograph: Your submission must include a “selfie” or photograph of you and your story teller/tellers together
  • Author experience: Your submission must include up to 200 words describing what you have gained from writing the older person’s story
  • The essay: The upper word limit for entries is 2000 words (excluding the up to 250 word introduction of people and country, and the up to 200 word description of what the author has gained from this experience). Entries must be written in English.
  • Consent form signed by the story teller or tellers: You must include the consent form signed by the story teller. If they are unable to sign, their personal mark is acceptable. If the participating older person is unable to read, the information sheet and consent form must be read it out to them and they must acknowledge they fully understand the project before they sign.
    Click here to download the consent form.
  • Submission deadline: 31st October 2017

Please ensure your contact details are clearly stated with your submission.

Submissions should be in a Word or pdf format, and images should be no larger than 1MB.

By submitting your entry to this project, you consent for your story and your picture to be considered for publication in a special book celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s 65 years as Head of the Commonwealth.

If your submission is selected for publication in the book, you and your storyteller or tellers will be acknowledged as author of the story. You and your storyteller or tellers agree not to receive any payment.

All entrants retain the copyright rights they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering CommonAge’s 2017 Story telling project, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or pieces or parts thereof in any advertisements, educational materials, corpus research or media and publicity carried out or produced by CommonAge without further notice or compensation.

CommonAge can publish or decline to publish; use or decline to use, any submitted pieces at CommonAge’s sole discretion.

Submission details:

By email to:

Other documents

Click here to download information to give to older people

Click here to download the promotional flier