Authors Francesca Simon, Malorie Blackman (pictured), Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell Boyce are among the judges of this year’s 500 Words children’s short story writing competition.
For the competition, now in its fifth year, children aged 13 and under must enter an original piece of fiction, no longer than 500 words, via the BBC website by the 26th February.
A team of teachers and librarians will mark the entries before the Reading Agency draws up a shortlist of 50 finalists. The writers of the top 50 stories will be invited to attend a broadcast of The Chris Evans Breakfast Show that will be broadcast live on Friday 29th May, 2015, from St James’s Palace, and six winners, chosen by the team of author judges, will have their stories read out by a famous narrator.
The winner of the best story will receive a “gold prize” of Chris Evans’ height in books, plus 500 books for their school. The silver prize winner will get co-presenter Alex Jones’ height in books, and the bronze prize winner will get their own height in books.
Evans said he wanted to do something “super special” to mark the fifth anniversary of the competition. “So we couldn’t believe our luck when HRH the Duchess of Cornwall invited us to hold our live on-air final in the stunning surroundings of St James’s Palace. She's a huge fan of the competition and cannot wait to meet and greet this year's fifty finalists on the day. Kids of the UK - if you’d like to hang out with real-life royalty - 500 Words 2015 is open for business! Get writing and get in the mix, by Royal Appointment.”
OUP will again this year analyse the entries to look for trends in vocabulary and influences. Last year, the publisher found that in the 120,000 entries words such as ‘flood’, ‘lego’ and ‘minecraft’ reflected current affairs, sporting events, celebrities, popular films and game. The word ‘minion’ from the film "Despicable Me 2" was crowned ‘Word of the Year’, while ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis’ was the longest word featured at 45 letters long.