Oxford Dictionaries for Children has once again teamed up with BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words – the nationwide competition to find the most talented young writers in the UK!
Please note: The closing date for BBC 500 Words 2020 is Thursday 27th February. Find out more on our BBC 500 Words page.
In 2011, BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans had a dream: to get all children, no matter what their ability, excited about reading and writing. In the last nine years, almost a million kids have picked up their pens and answered the call, making 500 Words the most successful story-writing competition for children in the world!
It’s very simple. Entrants write an original story of 500 words or fewer, on any subject or theme, and submit it online. The winners’ stories will then be read live on the radio by a superstar celebrity . . . like David Walliams, Sandi Toksvig, Michael Sheen, Julie Walters, Tom Hiddleston, or Benedict Cumberbatch! Each year, millions of Radio 2 listeners hear, read and love these stories.
In 2019, over 112,000 children entered the competition and the six winning stories from the 5–9 and 10–13 age categories were revealed at a live finale at the Windsor Castle. The stories were brought to life by a starry list of celebrities including Hugh Bonneville, Helen McCrory and David Walliams, while the audience were entertained by performances from Busted, Tom Walker and Matilda the Musical.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the competition, and the 2020 final is set to be even more spectacular as 500 Words heads to Buckingham Palace on 12th June. As well as attending the final, winners will see their story read live on air by superstar celebrities and will have their story illustrated by an amazing illustrator! Plus, this year’s competition introduces a brand new prize which will see one entrant selected at random to receive a fabulous book bundle and an invitation to the final!
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall returns once again as Honorary Judge, alongside an amazing author panel: Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Francesca Simon.
How to enter
Entry to the competition is open to persons who will be aged between 5 and 13 years on the 12th June 2020 and who are full time residents of the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).
500 Words is open for entries from 16 January until 8pm on Thursday 27th February 2020, and stories can be submitted via the BBC 500 Words website.
More from Oxford Owl
- How to plan your 500 Words story
- How to find the perfect words for your story
- How to write your 500 Words story
- How to edit your 500 Words story
- 2019 Oxford Children’s Word of the Year: Brexit
Books to support creative writing
Christopher Edge | Age 9+
Ideal for children wanting to enter story writing competitions! This is a humorous and authoritative book that will awaken the author in every child, unlocking their story ideas and giving them hints and tips to create their own stories.
This book will help children learn to craft brilliant stories, create believable characters, write powerful endings and much more. Packed with practical tips and insider advice from published authors, this guide opens up the secrets of how to write well and guides young writers all the way through from beating the fear of the blank page and learning to edit their work, to how to get other people reading their stories.