The Chris Evans Breakfast Show’s 500 Words story-writing competition returns to Radio 2 for a fifth year in 2015.
500 Words asks children aged 13 and under up and down the UK to put pen to paper to compose an original work of fiction using no more than 500 words.
Writing tips, entry and more info at bbc.co.uk/500words
Radio 2 will beam 500 Words into classrooms around the country, as Chris Evans holds a special Story Laboratory, available to watch online from Thursday 22 January at 8:15am.
Every single story submitted will be read by a brilliant, book-loving army of librarians and teachers from around the UK. The competition's panel of best-selling authors return in early May to pick three medal winners in two categories: 5–9 years; and 10–13 years.
The top 50 authors will all be invited to the 500 Words Final on Friday 29 May to hear the winners announced live on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show.
Chris Evans says: "500 WORDS provides a glimpse into the brilliant minds of kids around the country. These stories will amuse, thrill, delight and inspire you. So please: spread the word about 500 WORDS."
Bob Shennan, Controller BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, says: "If anything sums up Radio 2's commitment to being totally distinctive, it is 500 WORDS. Putting a children's short story writing competition at the heart of the nation’s best and favourite music breakfast show is the perfect definition of public service broadcasting at its best and boldest. I take my hat off to Chris and the team."
Last year’s competition attracted nearly 120,000 entries. The 50 million words used by the children in their stories provided a fascinating insight into the way British children use English today, thanks to the word-crunching wisdom of the Oxford University Press. There were over 4,000 watery mentions in the wake of the previous winter's flooding; Usain Bolt was the most-referenced sportsman; and there were 162 mentions of Shakespeare!
The Top 50 authors will all be invited to the 500 WORDS Final on Friday 29 May to hear the winners announced live on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, which attracts an average weekly audience of 9.35 million people. 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: "I'm staggered to be asked back: my most important contribution to last year's prestigious event was making coffee. Maybe that's why. But it is a real privilege to be involved. The standard of writing and limitless scope of imagination last year took my breath away and I look forward to having it taken away again this year."
Frank Cottrell-Boyce says: "There's something about 500 WORDS that really fires up the imagination. Judging the competition is like taking a roller coaster ride through a kaleidoscope. When else would I get the chance to spend the afternoon discussing the love life of a bacteria, the financial worries of tigers, a mouse with dreams of world domination and the secret yearnings of Stonehenge (it wishes it had a roof)."
Writing tips from Frank Cottrell-Boyce...
Malorie Blackman says: "BBC Radio 2’s 500 WORDS competition is such a wonderful way to tap into and highlight the creativity of our nation’s children. I so enjoyed being a judge for the 2013 competition that I kept all my fingers crossed I’d be asked again! I’m looking forward to reading this year’s shortlisted entries. I know they’ll be amazing. My advice to all budding writers out there hasn’t changed - write from the heart as well as the head and have fun! Good luck."
Writing tips from Malorie Blackman...
Francesca Simon says: "I started writing short stories when I was eight years old, and I only wish a competition like this one had existed then, which would have encouraged me to actually finish one. I'm thrilled to be judging this year's competition, which is such a great opportunity for children to spend time living in their imaginations, and seeing where their writing takes them."
Writing tips from Francesca Simon...
Charlie Higson says: "Stories are important. Mankind has always told stories to make sense of the world. And we all of us grow up surrounded by stories. The range and skill of the stories written by the kids for this competition are amazing. And it’s amazing how much you can fit into 500 words. So it’s an honour to be back for a third year helping to pick a winner. But, to tell you the truth, I mainly do it because it’s great fun."
Writing tips from Charlie Higson...