Celebrating its 10th birthday in 2020, the 500 Words competition, created by Chris Evans, is the UK's largest story-writing competition for children aged between 5 and 13. This year the competition attracted a staggering 134,709 entries. Owing to the global coronavirus pandemic, a special virtual final was organised with some amazing celebrity guests taking part.
The winners and finalists celebrated in a virtual Zoom Party hosted by Radio 2 Breakfast Show's traffic and travel presenter, Richie Anderson. The party was attended by special guests including Zoe Ball, David Walliams, Dick & Dom, Oti Mabuse who hosted a surprise dance work-out, The Bolds' illustrator David Roberts who led a live art session, and Gareth Malone who conducted the group in a rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
You can listen to the special 500 Words Grand Final edition of the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Sounds, or watch all of the winning stories being read by fabulous celebs on the BBC website.
So many children from all over the UK take part in the competition each year, and altogether over 1 million stories have been entered into the competition! All of the stories each year are first read by brilliant teachers and librarians. Then, our team at The Reading Agency read over 5,000 of the top stories and helped the BBC decide which go through to the final. We love reading the funny, exciting and creative stories that kids from the ages of 5-13 have written.
The winning stories are finally chosen by an expert panel composed of 500 Words creator Chris Evans and Radio 2 Breakfast Show presenter Zoe Ball, along with award-winning authors Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Charlie Higson and Francesca Simon, as well as Honorary Judge, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.
Every year we are amazed by the imagination and creativity of the stories we read. Although in the stories this year we saw lots of discussion about serious topics, such as the environment, politics and human rights, there were also such funny, silly, scary and surprising stories in the mix!
The winning stories this year included an heroic T-Rex, a fly on a mission to annoy, and a five pound note on an amazing adventure.
There were also heartfelt stories about families facing hardships and supporting each other, and a tear-jerker about a lovely old rabbit.
Each of the winners will receive an original illustration of their story by one of six top children's illustrators, as well as a specially printed book containing all six winning stories and illustrations.
The winning stories were read live on Radio 2 by beloved celebrity readers; the Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker, Harry Potter star Alfred Enoch, national treasure Joanna Lumley, Blue Peter's own Mwaksy Mudenda, pop megastar Dua Lipa, and of course, fan favourite David Walliams.
Illustrations of the winning stories.
Read or listen to all of the stories in the final.
Do you know any children who entered the competition this year? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #500Words.
Want to inspire the children in your life? Get writing hints and tips from celebrities that will help get them started.
Great writers come from great readers - find out about this year's Summer Reading Challenge, Silly Squad.