How to enter BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words short story competition

The final will take place in Windsor Castle – and a brand new prize has been introduced


BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words, the world’s biggest short story writing competition for kids, is back.


New breakfast show presenter Zoe Ball takes over hosting duties from Chris Evans, and the competition is already open for entries.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to enter BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words 2019.

How old do you have to be to enter BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words?

Entrants need to be aged between 5 and 13 years on 14th June 2019. They also need to be full time residents of the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

How do you enter BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words?

Stories must be fictional, written in English, and be 500 words or fewer. Entries can only be accepted online, and must be received by Friday 8th March at 7pm — so start putting that pen to paper!

Parents, guardians and teachers can register to submit one or even a whole school’s worth of stories using the Radio 2’s 500 Words Submitter tool.

There are two age categories: ages 5 to 9 years, and 10 to 13 years.

What are the prizes for BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words?

This year an additional prize is being introduced, as six illustrators (Helen Oxenbury, Tony Ross, Susan Varley, Jarvis, David Roberts, and Briony May Smith) will each be tasked with illustrating one of the winning stories.

For the lucky winners in each age category, the Gold Winners will win Chris Evans’ height in books, 500 books for their school and an invitation to visit the set of a CBBC Production.
Silver winners will receive HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s height in books, while Bronze winners will collect their own height in books.

When and where is the final for BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words taking place?

This year’s BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words Final will be broadcast live on Friday 14th June from Windsor Castle, on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Radio 2.


Struggling for ideas? Check out this BBC Teach Live video from last year’s contest to help kick-start your imagination…