500 Words 2020

Posted on: February 12th 2020Events

The UK's largest story writing competition for kids is back for its tenth year. Here's everything you need to know to get involved.

How to enter

All stories must be submitted via the online form on our website.

Parents, guardians and teachers can register for a SUBMITTER ACCOUNT, or by following the links at the top of this page. Once an account has been created, it can be used to upload a single story or a whole school's worth of tales with our new top tool! For more information on how to enter a story into this year's competition, please visit our Submit Your Story page.

Teachers and Librarians can also apply to be one of our volunteer judges by registering a JUDGE ACCOUNT. For more information on how to become a judge for this year's competition, please visit our Become A Judge page.

Please read the competition rules before submitting entries, along with the competition Privacy Notice.

What are the prizes?

As well attending a spectacular 500 Words Final at Buckingham Palace where superstar celebrities will read the winning stories live on the radio, six amazing illustrators: Tony Ross, Fiona Lumbers, David McKee, Sue Cheung, David Roberts, and Margaret Sturton – will each be set the task of illustrating one the winning stories.

The winners in each age category will also receive:

Gold Winners - Chris Evans' height in books and 500 books for their school.

Silver Winners - HRH The Duchess of Cornwall's height in books.

Bronze Winners - Their own height in books.

There is also a BRAND NEW Prize for 2020 and it doesn’t matter how good your story is just that you enter one. One entrant will be selected at random to receive a fabulous book bundle and an invite to the final (for child plus a parent or guardian). They will also win 500 books for their school – so the more pupils a school has that has entered the more chances they have of winning a brand new library.

Read more about the prizes here.

Dates for your diary

All entries must be received by Thursday 27th February at 8pm.

This year’s 500 Words Final will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 from Buckingham Palace, on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, on Friday 12th June.

Get started

500 Words is an open invitation to the wide world of imagination, so it's time to get those creative cogs turning!

To help you get started, our website is packed full of helpful hints and terrific tips to bust through the writer's block.

Download a learning pack from the LEARN section, where you can also find advice from our celebrity judges Frank Cottrell Boyce and Charlie Higson in the 500 Words Live Lesson.

Pop over to the 500 Words Blog to discover top tips to create terrific tales written by previous winners, amazing authors and a few of the 500 Words elves.



Also in the News

Classic fashion styled from sacks, bags and old fabric A free fashion exhibition at Gunnersbury Park Museum runs for another week – and gives you the chance to see some stunning Georgian-inspired clothing created by local young people. Some of which were skilfully made from old curtains, rubbish sacks and other ‘upcycled’ materials. Two GCSE textiles classes from Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls worked on a fashion project with designer, sewing tutor and stylist, Karen Arthur. Inspired by Gunnersbury Park Museum’s collection of historic costume, the students researched styles from the Georgian period to create their own costume pieces. However, the designs may have been inspired by Georgian fashion, but they did not use popular Georgian materials such as cotton, silk and lace. Instead, the students’ brief was to make use of recyclable materials – and they set to work with, among other things: A set of vintage curtains, old denim, fabric remnants, coffee pods, hessian coffee sacks, bright orange Sainsbury’s shopping bags, bubble wrap and even black rubbish bags. Precision stitching, sewing and embroidery were involved as they followed Georgian patterns such as puffed sleeves, long, wide skirts and stiff stomachers. It you take a close look you will see 18th Century style sleeves which look like silk; a piece of sack cloth cut to look like lace; a full skirt with tight waste-band giving a distinct summery feel; patch-work chinos and a stomacher made from discarded coffee pods. As well as being impressed by the costumes it might inspire you to try ‘up-cycling’ your own clothes. Meanwhile, children from community group Descendants also got to work with the same fashion designer to create Georgian-style costumes from African-themed fabrics. Descendants is an arts-focused educational project aimed at young people and children aged between four and 18 years and primarily, though not exclusively, of African and Caribbean descent. It is one of the mayor of Ealing’s annual official charities. A special fashion show was held at Gunnersbury Park Museum to showcase the work from the two groups.The costumes were modelled by the young people who had been involved in the projects and also by a group of students from West Thames College, and the models were styled by other students from the West Thames College’s hair and make-up department. Louise Fraser, textiles teacher at Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls, said: “I am incredibly proud of our students. They have worked so hard to create their designs and it is a joy to see them delight in their work being shown off in this exciting fashion show with confident models.” All of the costumes will be on display at Gunnersbury Park Museum until 27 February.