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 themselves.

There are two age categories: 5-7 and 8-11 year-olds. Entries are invited for an original piece of prose fiction, written in English, that is no more than 500 words long. All stories are judged on characterisation, plot, originality, language and enjoyment.

Volunteer judges and official partners The Reading Agency whittle down the thousands of entries over two rounds of judging to produce a list of 50 finalists. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges made up of children’s authors.

The gold, silver and bronze winners for each age category will have their stories read by a celebrity guest reader at the grand final on World Book Day and each winning story will receive its own illustration by a top children’s illustrator which will be included in an exclusive 500 Words winning stories book.


  • Registration to be a volunteer judge will open in mid-July.
  • The 2024 competition opens for entries on 24th September 2024.
  • The winners will be announced on World Book Day, 6th March 20245.

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

  • Read the top 50 stories from last year’s 500 words competition.
  • 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 from the BBC and partner organisations.
  • Catch up on last year’s 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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