500 Words Competition

From 500 Words

Resource type: Competition

Price band: Free

Key stage: KS1, KS2

Region(s): All of UK

The 500 Words Competition is the UK’s largest story-writing competition for primary-aged children. The aim of the competition is to get children of all abilities and backgrounds to use their creativity and imagination to write a story that they would love to read. Entries are invited for an original piece of prose fiction, written in English, that is no more than 500 words long.

Competition entries must be written by an individual and there are two age categories for the 2023 competition: 5-7 and 8-11.  A Gold, Silver and Bronze winner for each category will be chosen from a shortlist of 50 finalists by a panel of expert judges that includes best-selling authors Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Sir Lenny Henry, Charlie Higson and Francesca Simon.

All 50 finalists will be invited to the Grand Final event and their stories will be recorded and published on the 500 Words website. The six winning stories will also be illustrated by top children’s illustrators and included in a 500 Words winners book. There are also prizes of books for all winners and their schools.


  • The 2023 competition will launch on 26th September.
  • The deadline for entries is 10th November.
  • The winners will be announced at a Grand Final event in February. Highlights will also be shown on a special 500 Words programme on BBC 1 on World Book Day (7th March 2024).

Cost: Free

About 500 Words: The 500 Words Competition was launched in 2011 by Chris Evans when he was the presenter of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show. Since its launch, it has received over one million stories from children around the UK. After a brief pause, the 500 Words Competition is returning to the BBC where it will be hosted by BBC Breakfast, supported by BBC Teach and a group of partners that include leading UK publishers and literacy organisations.

Further resources

  • Authors share some Tips and Tricks on how to write your best story.
  • Find ideas to support and inspire young writers aged 5-7 and 7-11 in the classroom from the BBC and partner organisations.
  • Catch up on the 500 Words Live Lesson featuring some of this year’s author judges for more inspiration.
  • Find more literacy-related competitions to engage and inspire your pupils here.

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