500 Words competition is back for 2013
Hay Fever and BBC Radio 2 have teamed up once again in 2013, and are very pleased to announce the return of the exciting story competition for children aged under 13. 500 Words was launched exclusively by Chris Evans on his Breakfast Show on Monday 21 January.
Chris said: "When we launched 500 WORDS in 2011, we hoped to inspire young minds around the UK, and we were just astonished by the imagination and talent leaping off the page of the stories that flooded in. Last year’s competition saw a staggering 74,000 entries – more than twice the number of year one, so we have very high hopes for 2013. Let the creativity commence!"
He also announced that a number of new famous faces are set to join the competition judging panel - including CBBC and Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond who takes up the mantle of head judge.
Also joining the panel are international children’s literature heavyweights Frank Cottrell-Boyce, the award-winning novelist and screenwriter, who scripted the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Games, and made Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fly once again for young readers; and Malorie Blackman, whose literature and television drama credits include the Noughts and Crosses series. They will be joining the panel that consists of returning judges Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Charlie Higson, who will pick their favourite stories from a shortlist of 50, drawn from two age groups: children aged nine and under, and those aged between ten and thirteen.
As part of the competition, entrants have to compose an original work of fiction using no more than 500 words. Hopefuls should apply via the Radio 2 website, where there are top writing tips from best-selling authors and celebrities like Daniel Radcliffe, as well as a free activity pack for teachers and librarians – something brand new for 2013.
Entries can be submitted at bbc.co.uk/500words from today until Friday 22 February 2013.
Fifty chosen finalists will be invited with their families to The Telegraph Hay Festival on Friday 31 May as special guests, where they will watch Chris Evans broadcast his BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show live to the nation. Six winners will be announced live on air and will get to hear their stories read out by a famous narrator.
The expert judging panel will be helping to captivate imaginative young minds and inspire would-be authors.
Richard Hammond says: "It’s a great honour to be heading the judging panel for 500 WORDS. I’m really thrilled and excited by it. It’s a fantastic competition that demonstrates there’s a huge reserve of creativity out there. I saw that when I came and read a winner’s story at the first 500 WORDS live final in 2011. The energy that young writers have and that preparedness to just say; ‘this is a really good idea, I’m going to run with it!’ that’s what I’m really excited about seeing again."
Frank Cottrell-Boyce says: "I am unbelievably excited to be one of the judges for 500 WORDS. Writing should be about launching yourself into the unknown - which is exactly what I did when I was writing the Olympics Opening Ceremony! I really believe that anybody can be a writer, which is why I want as many children as possible to get involved."
Writing tips from Frank Cottrell-Boyce...
Malorie Blackman says: "I am so thrilled to be joining the judges for this year's BBC Radio 2 500 WORDS competition. I'm more than happy to support any idea that gets children writing and using their imaginations. My advice would be to write from the heart as well as the head and most importantly whilst you're doing it, HAVE FUN! I can't wait to get stuck in to reading all the fabulous stories that will be submitted this year. Good luck everyone."
Writing tips from Malorie Blackman...
Dame Jacqueline Wilson says: "I’m very much looking forward to judging this year’s 500 Words competition. The standard of entries is always impressively high and it always pleases me that so many children obviously enjoy writing stories. This is just the sort of competition that I would have loved when I was a child."
Writing tips from Dame Jacqueline Wilson...
Charlie Higson says: "I was blown away by the standard of the stories last year. Choosing the winners was really hard. It was a shame we couldn't give everyone a prize. It proves the moaners wrong - British kids are interested in reading and writing and telling stories. I am delighted to be back on the judging panel again this year - if only to read some more fantastic stories."
Writing tips from Charlie Higson...