The 500 Words competition launched today, Tuesday 29 January, on BBC Radio 2. It is one of the most successful story-writing competitions for kids in the world, and helps to get children excited about reading and writing.
Created by Chris Evans, and now in it's ninth year, the competition this year will take place on the brand-new Zoe Ball breakfast show!
Zoe Ball says: "I'm so proud and excited to be launching 500 Words 2019. It is incredible what Chris Evans has achieved since he first created it back in 2011. I encourage all our younger listeners to delve deep into your imaginations, and perhaps it could be you heading to the live final at one of the world's most iconic buildings, Windsor Castle, in June!"
This year, the amazing live final event will take place on Friday 14 June in the spectacular surroundings of Windsor Castle! Every child who takes part, and every teacher and librarian who helps with the judging, will be entered into a draw to attend the event.
How it works
It's very simple. Children write an original story on any subject or theme in 500 words or fewer and submit it online. 135,000 children took part in the competition last year, and the winners have their stories read live on Radio 2 by a superstar celebrity! Each year, 10 million Radio 2 listeners hear, read and love these stories.
There are two age categories, 5-9 and 10-13, and stories can be entered from now until the deadline on Friday 8 March at 7pm.
Last year's winners were announced at a fantastic live show at Hampton Court Palace. Their stories were read by a starry list of celebrities including David Walliams, Jason Isaacs and Shobna Gulati.
The prizes for the winning stories are more amazing than ever this year - including having the stories illustrated by beloved children's illustrators.
At The Reading Agency we are so excited to be a part of this brilliant competition. We will read around 5,000 of the best stories and help the BBC decide which stories go through to the final. We love reading the funny, exciting and creative stories each year that kids from the ages of 5-13 have written.
Do you know any children who would like to take part in the competition this year? Encourage them to write their story and submit it online. It's a really fun activity to do as a family - why not all write a story and then read them to each other?
Are you a teacher or librarian? Sign up as a judge and be part of this fantastic competition. Every judge will be entered into a draw to attend the brilliant live launch event.
Has your school, library, or youth group taken part in the competition before? Do you know anyone who has made it through to the final 50 stories? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #500Words.
Teachers - the 500 Words 2019 Live Lesson will be available live on Thursday 7 February at 11am (and available after that to download). It's around 40 minutes long and will help inspire children to come up with their own amazing story. With live, interactive content and resources tailored for both 5-7 year olds and ages 7 and up, it's perfect for the classroom. And if that's not enough, 500 Words judges and best-selling authors Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell-Boyce will be sharing tips, answering questions and attempting to write a whole 500 Words story in the space of a single Live Lesson!