About 500 Words
‘500 Words’ is the UK’s most successful short story-writing competition for children between the ages of 5 and 13.
In 2018 134,790 children entered the competition
It was launched back in 2011, after Chris Evans had a dream. He dreamt of getting children excited about reading and writing. All children: no matter what their ability, experience, or background.
In 2018 134,790 children entered the competition, and since it launched, the competition has received over 800,000 short stories.
It’s super simple. All entrants must pen an original story, no more than 500 words in length, and submit it online. It can be about ANYTHING you want – space-ships, grannies, insects, microwaves. The list is endless!
Stories are judged anonymously, without regard to grammar, punctuation or spelling. The competition culminates in a broadcast extravaganza of live music and sensational story-telling every summer, at a special venue. Past venues have included The Globe and The Tower of London. 2018 saw a magnificent extravaganza come live from Hampton Court Palace. From the 134,790 entries - that’s 67.5 million words, the 6 winning wordsmiths were announced on-air by celebrity narrators including Jason Isaacs, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Abbington and Shobna Gulati. Also there were enchanting performances from sensational superstar John Newman, X-Factor alumni Alexandra Burke, and the amazing Bastille.
500 Words were also delighted to welcome back real-life royalty to the competition: Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, who returned as our Honorary Judge, where she read and debated the top 50 stories of the competition with our amazing author panel: Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Francesca Simon.
In the words of the HRH Duchess of Cornwall “Keep saying a big fat YES to adventure”.