iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Hello Francesca Simon and Welcome Back Charlie Higson!

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Hello Francesca Simon and Welcome Back Charlie Higson!

2 hours, 59 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 23 January 2014

It's day four of 500 WORDS launch week (anyone written their story yet?!) and Chris chats to the two remaining best-selling authors on our judging panel: Charlie Higson, who's back for a third year, and our brand new family member, Francesca Simon!

Charlie is probably best known as one of the creators of The Fast Show, but his hugely popular Young Bond books have sold over a million copies, in the UK alone, and been translated into over 24 languages! In 2013, Charlie published The Fallen, the fifth book in a zombie series which terrifies teens!

Francesca Simon's most successful creation is the irrepressible Horrid Henry, whose adventures have been published in 27 languages and sold in their millions! Francesca is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Horrid Henry at the 2014 Hay Festival of Literature and Arts.

Last year 500 WORDS attracted more than 90,000 entries. It's open to children aged 13 and under and the rules are simple: Make up a story, and write it down, using no more than 500 words. And every single story submitted will be read by a brilliant, book-loving, army of librarians and teachers from around the UK.

For more information about the competition, and for writing tips, lesson plans and tools to help children get writing, visit www.bbc.co.uk/500words.

Music Played

29 items
  • Image for The Rolling Stones

    The Rolling Stones Brown Sugar

    The Rolling Stones - Forty Licks, Abkco

  • Image for OneRepublic

    OneRepublic If I Lose Myself

    (CD Single), Interscope, 001

  • Image for Laura Branigan

    Laura Branigan Gloria

    Disco Queens: The '80s (Various Artists), Rhino

  • Image for Simple Minds

    Simple Minds Glittering Prize

    Glittering Prize - Best Of Simple Min, Virgin

  • Image for Paul Weller

    Paul Weller That Dangerous Age

    (CD Single), Island, 1

  • Image for Jamiroquai

    Jamiroquai Virtual Insanity

    Walk On - Hits From The Last 2 Decade, Columbia

  • Image for Keane

    Keane Won't Be Broken

    (CD Single), Island, 001

  • Image for David Bowie

    David Bowie Changes

    David Bowie - Best Of Bowie, EMI

  • Image for Eliza Doolittle

    Eliza Doolittle Pack Up

    (CD Single), EMI, 1

  • Image for Al Martino

    Al Martino Spanish Eyes

    The Best Album In The World ...Ever!, BMG

  • Image for James Blunt

    James Blunt Heart To Heart

    Moon Landing, Atlantic, 004

  • Image for Blues Brothers

    Blues Brothers Everybody Needs Somebody To Love

    Simply The Best Movie Album (Various), Warner Strategic Market

  • Image for Pretenders

    Pretenders Talk Of The Town

    The Pretenders - The Singles, WEA

  • Image for The Bangles

    The Bangles A Hazy Shade Of Winter.

    Bangles Greatest Hits, CBS

  • Image for Foreigner

    Foreigner Cold As Ice

    It's Only Rock 'n' Roll... (Various), Fragile, 3

  • Image for Gregory Porter

    Gregory Porter Liquid Spirit

    Liquid Spirit, Decca, 001

  • Image for The Zombies

    The Zombies She's Not There

    The Godfathers Of Britpop, Polygram Tv

  • Image for Del Amitri

    Del Amitri Roll To Me

    Twisted, A&M, 007

  • Image for Archie Bell & The Drells

    Archie Bell & The Drells Soul City Walk

    Midnight Soul (Various Artists), Music Club

  • Image for The Faces

    The Faces Stay With Me

    Glam Crazee - Various Artists, Virgin

  • Image for Katy B

    Katy B Crying For No Reason

    (CD Single), Columbia

  • Image for Cat Stevens

    Cat Stevens Another Saturday Night

    The Very Best Of Cat Stevens, Island

  • Image for Eurythmics

    Eurythmics Who's That Girl?

    Greatest Hits, RCA

  • Image for Dobie Gray

    Dobie Gray Out On The Floor

    The Best Northern Soul All-Nighter (V, Virgin

  • Image for Al Wilson

    Al Wilson The Snake

    The Best Northern Soul All-Nighter (V, Virgin

  • Image for Boyzone

    Boyzone Light Up The Night

    BZ20, Rhino, 001

  • Image for Kate Rusby

    Kate Rusby The Village Green Preservation Society

    (CD Single), Pure Records

  • Image for The Police

    The Police Spirits In The Material World

    The Police - Message In A Box (Cd 3), A&M

  • Image for Amy Winehouse

    Amy Winehouse Tears Dry On Their Own

    (CD Single), Island

  • Pause for Thought

    Sarah Joseph

    From Sarah Joseph, Editor of Emel, the Muslim lifestyle magazine:


    When I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer. I would write short stories and poems all the time. If the 500 Word Competition had been around then, I would certainly have had a go.


    My words would take me to a place away from my world.


    When I was eleven my English teacher declared to the class, "This homework is rubbish. None of you will ever become writers." I am sure it did not affect everyone in the class, but it felt like he knew my secret, and had crushed it in his hands. For a long time, I stopped writing, but the longing in my heart to create through words did not leave me.


    I know the teacher meant no harm, but it took me a while to find the courage to write again. Eventually I began once more, for the words in my head wouldn't stop, but to this day I never say I am a writer although I have written hundreds of thousands of words in my life.


    There is something about the creative process that exposes you and makes you vulnerable, yet it fascinates me.


    As such, I am a compulsive crafter. At the moment my crafts are embroidery--for when I am sitting down at home or on the train.  And stained glass and paper marbling for when I have more space and time.


    Like writing, I discover that all of the crafts never come out exactly as I imagine them in my head. I used to get frustrated by this, but now I am more accepting.


    Paper marbling is a particularly curious art form. You float paint on water, with a delicate swirling you make a pattern and then you take a print onto paper. One spends a lot of time preparing, yet despite this, there can be no guarantees as to what will come out. Even the Masters of this art cannot guarantee the results. Each piece of marbling is totally unique—just like every human.


    For me, the creative process is a metaphor for life. To do anything meaningful you have to take risks: risks of rejection, risks of failure, but the uniqueness and beauty of what you can create, and the life you can live, makes those risks worthwhile.


BBC Playlister

Image for BBC Playlister: Name that tune with Chris Evans

Chris has a song stuck in his head - but what is it? That's why he needs BBC Playlister!

Free download

  1. Image for Chris Evans - The Best Bits

    Chris Evans - The Best Bits

    Catch up with the latest Breakfast fun with Chris Evans. Hear the best stories and the biggest…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss