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The 500 WORDS Final

2 hours, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 31 May 2013

Chris Evans presents the finale of 500 WORDS 2013, Radio 2's short story competition for children aged 13 and under, live from the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts.

The six winners are announced live on-air, with each young author hearing their words brought to life by a superstar narrator. Globe-trotting comic legend Michael Palin; BBC Breakfast's brilliant Susanna Reid (no stranger herself to early mornings); the Olivier Award-winning Radio 2 presenter Michael Ball; the award-winning actress Miranda Richardson, plus Blue Peter's Barney Harwood are this year's guests. And Chris' One Show co-host, Alex Jones, and sports reporter Vassos Alexander are on hand to capture the reactions of our prize-winning young authors.

500 WORDS attracted a staggering 90,000 entries in its third ever year! A wonderful team of volunteer teachers and librarians around the UK helped us read every, single story, before the Scottish Book Trust selected the 50 young finalists, who join Chris for this very special broadcast from beautiful Hay-on-Wye.

Our best-selling panel of judges - Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Charlie Higson, Malorie Blackman, and Frank Cottrell-Boyce; headed up this year by the CBBC and Top Gear Star Richard Hammond - have painstakingly picked three winners in each category (which are children aged nine and under and those aged between 10-13).

The Gold Medal winner in each category wins Chris Evans' height in books (6ft 2") plus 500 books for their school library; the runner up Silver Medal winner receives Alex Jones' height in books (5ft 6"); while the Bronze Medal winner can look forward to reading their own height in books!

Music Played

17 items
  • Pause for Thought

    From Rev Sharon Grenham Toze, an Anglican priest and prison chaplain.

    I’m sure Chris has been having a great time at the Hay festival, celebrating all the wonderful stories in the 500 words competition, and especially the talent of the winners.

    I was talking about books too, earlier in the week, when I recorded a panel for local TV. We were reviewing a well-known book, and also two books written by one of the other people taking part.

    I’d been a bit nervous in the run-up to the filming – not because it was TV, but because I’d really disliked one of the books my fellow panellist had written. Somehow I was going to have to share my reaction with the author sitting right next to me – awkward!!!

    As it was it all went pretty well, she was lovely, and we had a good discussion. But saying something potentially negative is never easy.

    Every now and then we find ourselves having to deliver an unwelcome message. It might be ‘you were unsuccessful this time.’ Or it might be ending a relationship of some sort, personal or business. Sadly sometimes it might be the news of a serious illness, or someone passing away; at other times it might be trying to get someone to see they can’t carry on the way they have been. And who hasn’t had to own up to breaking or losing something precious to someone else…

    The message is so unwelcome because in some way or another it’s going to disturb someone’s world, maybe even change their life. Even if we’re just saying we don’t like someone’s work, in many ways that’s an incredibly personal thing.

    So our words, and the way we deliver them, need to be carefully chosen. One of my favourite poets, William Butler Yeats, wrote a love poem called ‘He wishes for the cloths of heaven.’ I think we’d do well to remember the closing lines whenever we find ourselves commenting on someone or something they’ve done:

    ‘I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, for you tread on my dreams.’


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