About 500 Words


In 2017 131,798 children entered the competition

If you are attending the Final at Hampton Court Palace, please read this important information

Seven years ago, Chris Evans had a dream: to get children excited about reading and writing. All children, no matter what their ability. 500 Words is now one of the most successful story-writing competitions for kids in the world: Three quarters of a million children have written a story for us over the years!

It’s very simple. Entrants write an original story on any subject or theme in 500 Words or fewer and submit it online. If they win, their story will be read live on the radio by a superstar celebrity…like Julie Walters, Tom Hiddleston, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Jeremy Irons, or Sherlock himself – Benedict Cumberbatch. Each year, 10 million Radio 2 listeners hear, read and love these stories.

In 2017 131,798 children entered the competition and at the finale, on 16th June live from the Tower of London, we revealed the 6 winning stories from the 5-9 and 10-13 age categories.

Last year we had a magnificent extravaganza celebrating our fantastic 6 winners with a starry list of celebs including Sir Derek Jacobi, Jenny Agutter and David Walliams; reading the winners’ stories at the Tower of London. Also there were enchanting performances from sensational superstar Niall Horan, X-Factor alumni Olly Murs, and the amazing Anne Marie.

As well as rubbing shoulders with the world’s biggest celebrities and massive pop-stars our Bronze winners won their own height in books and the Silver winners the Duchess’ height in books. AND our Gold winners not only won Chris Evans’ height in books AND 500 books for their school, but winners were also surprised with a special illustrated copy of their story printed by royal bookbinders.

Plus, 500 Words were delighted to welcome back real-life royalty to the competition: Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, who returned in 2017 to support the competition as our Honorary Judge! At the finale at the Tower of London she presented the Gold winners with their medals and prizes. The HRH Duchess Of Cornwall was also part of the judging process 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.

Thank you to all the children who entered the competition and to our brilliant judges across the country that helped to mark all the stories. In the words of the HRH Duchess Of Cornwall “Are you ready for an adventure?”

Please refer to the FAQ section if you have any questions.

You can use the teaching resources on our website all year round! We’ve got LOADS of fun assets under the ‘Learn’ section.