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About 500 Words

500 Words is the UK’s most successful short story-writing competition for children between the ages of 5 and 13.

Since the competition launched 934,296 stories have been entered in the competition.

It was launched back in 2011, after Chris Evans had a dream. He dreamt of getting children excited about reading and writing. All children: no matter what their ability, experience, or background.

2019 attracted over 110, 000 entries children to the short story competition, and since it launched, the competition has received over 912,986 short stories.

It’s super simple. All entrants must pen an original story, no more than 500 words in length, and submit it online. It can be about ANYTHING you want – space-ships, grannies, insects, time travel. The list is endless!

Stories are judged anonymously, without regard to grammar, punctuation or spelling. The competition culminates in a broadcast extravaganza of live music and sensational story-telling every summer, at a special venue. Past venues have included The Globe and The Tower of London and Windsor Castle. 2019 saw a magnificent extravaganza come live from Windsor Castle. From the 112,986 entries - that’s 56.5 million words, with the six winning wordsmiths announced on-air by celebrity narrators including David Walliams and Helen McCrory. There was also fantastic music from Busted, Tom Walker and Matilda the Musical.

500 Words were also delighted to welcome back real-life royalty to the competition: Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, who returned as our Honorary Judge, 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.

In the words of the HRH Duchess of Cornwall “Keep saying a big fat YES to 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.