‘Refugee’ named Children’s Word of the Year in Chris Evans’ 500 Words storytelling competition

The word appeared in hundreds of short stories submitted to BBC Radio 2's children's writing competition

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‘Refugee’ has been named the Children’s Word of the Year, after appearing in hundreds of short stories submitted to BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words writing competition.

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Oxford University Press analysed more than 120,000 short stories and found that usage of the word ‘refugee’ has more than tripled since last year.

The OUP said that children were also using emotive and descriptive language around the word, calling it “the most notable instance of children being influenced by events in the news.”

The stories were most frequently about children the same age as the writers leaving home and undertaking difficult journeys.

Radio 2 and Top Gear presenter Chris Evans is set to reveal the winning entries this Friday live from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The winning entries will be read out by a number of famous faces – previous celebrities have included Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Jeremy Irons.

Star Wars, Shakespeare and British astronaut Tim Peake were some of the other most common themes in this year’s entries.

“This analysis has once again proved fascinating,” said Evans. “OUP’s research has shown how aware and engaged children are with the world around them, not just at home, but globally and even inter-galactically.

“The imagination of kids never ceases to amaze me and I’m so proud the competition has again fired up their creativity and shown how talented and inspiring the young people of the UK are.”

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Hashtag was named Children’s Word of the Year in 2015, with references to the Ebola epidemic and World War I also being prevalent.