BBC announces return of popular literary competition for children

Image removed.Children across the UK are being called to tap into their imagination and put pen to paper as a celebrated writing competition is launched once again. 

The BBC has announced the opening date for its popular storytelling competition 500 words. 

Over the past seven years almost half a million children have taken part in the competition which is judged by an expert panel of top authors including Malorie Blackman, Francesca Simon and Frank Cottrell Boyce, in addition to last year’s honorary judge, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. 

The competition has gone from strength to strength over the years with 2016 really pushing the boat out to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. 

To pay homage to one of England’s greatest writers, the competition held its grand final at the bard’s own playhouse, The Globe theatre in London, where a star-studded cast of performers including Julie Walters, Tom Hiddleston and Andy Serkis performed the winning stories. 

Now the BBC has announced the return of the competition which will be launched on Monday.

How does it work? 

All children aged between five and 13 are invited to write a short, original story on any subject in 500 words or less and submit it online. 

Six winners are then chosen from both the five to nine and 10 to 13 categories to proceed to the final, previously held at St James’s Palace and The Globe Theatre. 

Winners are then divided into bronze, silver and gold winners. Last year, bronze winners won their own height in books while silver winners won the Duchess’s height in books. Gold winners then won Chris Evans’s height in books in addition to 500 books for their school. They also received a special illustration of their story by children’s laureate Chris Riddell.

The stories are also performed by some of the UK’s most celebrated actors and actresses in a special broadcast of the final on BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show. 

How do I get involved?

Schools can get involved by logging on to the BBC website and taking part in a special live lesson taking place on Monday 16 January at 11am. Just head to the BBC website to find out more. 

To register your interest email and keep up to date with the progress of the competition. 

Teachers can also download  a full lesson guide and activity sheets from the BBC website. 

Entry forms for the competition can also be downloaded from the website.