The 500 Words competition launched today, Thursday 16 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, the competition now takes places on the Zoe Ball breakfast show!
This year, the amazing live final event will be held on 12 June at Buckingham Palace! 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. Over 110,000 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 Thursday 27 February at 8pm.
Last year's winners were announced at a fantastic live show at Windsor Castle. Their stories were read by a starry list of celebrities including David Walliams, Michael Sheen and Konnie Huq.
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.
The Live Lesson
Teachers - the 500 Words 2020 Live Lesson will be available live on Thursday 16 January from 11am (and available after that to download).
As it's the 10th anniversary of 500 Words this year, the live lesson will be celebrating all that 500 Words has achieved over the past decade by travelling through time and gathering inspiration from amazing stories that defy time and space.
The 500 Words team will be looking at ways to take inspiration from the past, present and future, and use those ideas to create some ageless tales that will go down in the history books, paying particular attention to audience, point of view and how to end a story.
Designed to spark the imaginations of children aged 5-13 and encourage them to create new and original stories, this live, interactive programme is hosted by Zoe Ball, CBBC's Rhys Stephenson and Hacker T Dog.
They'll be joined in the studio by 500 Words Judges, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Charlie Higson and Francesca Simon who will be providing the budding writers with their top tips and advice on how to start their own 500 Words stories.