BBC's 500 Words challenge is officially open!

BBC's 500 Words challenge is officially open!

Posted 30th January

BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show host, Zoe Ball, has officially lauched this year's short story competition…

Have you got a budding young writer in the family? Does your young one show the promise of Roald Dahl or the imagination of David Walliams? Then today's the day to get going on the 500 Words challenge!

Originally launched by radio DJ Chris Evans in 2011, 500 Words is a short-story writing competiton for children from all backgrounds aged between five and 13 years old who enjoy creative writing, no matter what your spelling, grammar or punctuation is like!

With last year's competition gathering a whopping 134,790 entries, this year is set to be just as exciting, with an array of famous faces ready for the grand final at Windsor Castle on Friday, 14th June 2019.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall returns for her third year as the competition's Honorary Judge, alongside an esteemed judging panel including Malorie Blackman, Francesca Simon, Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell-Boyce; plus, Chris Evans will remain the Chair of the Panel.


BBC/Guy Levy


How to enter 500 Words…

To enter the 500 Words competition, all your child has to do is write an original fictional story which is no more than 500 words in length – it can be about ANYTHING they like!

Parents or teachers will then have to create a 500 Words account here in order to submit the entrant's story.

The Rules:

1. You have to be a full time resident of the UK

2. You have to be between 5 and 13 years old on 14th June 2019

3. You story can't exceed 500 words in length


The 500 Words deadline…

You have to submit your story via the BBC Website here by 7pm on Friday 8th March 2019.

Stories will only be accepted through the online 500 Words form and have to be submitted from a registered 500 Words account. Parents, guardians, or teachers can create an account here

Once stories have been submitted, entrants will be able to download a 500 Words certificate to celebrate their achievement. Then if your story has made it through the first round, you'll be contacted in April.


The 500 Words prizes…

The winning stories will be selected from two categories: 5-9 years old and 10-13 years old

In each category there will be Bronze, Silver and Gold winners. Each winner will get their story illustrated by six famous illustrators, including Helen Oxenbury, Tony Ross, Susan Varley, Jarvis, David Roberts and Briony May Smith. 

The winners will receive these at the live final at Windsor Castle on Friday, 14th June 2019, where their stories will be announced and read out live on-air by some superstar narrators.

The Gold winners receive Chris Evans’ height in books and will be invited to a set visit/tour of a CBBC production, and each of their schools will be sent 500 books for their library.

The Silver winners receive HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s height in books, and the Bronze winners receive their own height in books.

The winners and writers of the top 50 short-listed stories will attend a reception in the castle’s historic state rooms which have played host to state occasions, wedding receptions and other official events for centuries. Additionally, a limited number of entrants will also be selected at random to come to the final.


If you still have any burning questions, then head to the 500 Words FAQ section where you can find all the details you need to help you be in with the chance to win!


Main image credit: BBC/Guy Levy

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