Chris Evans launched this year’s 500 WORDS short-story writing competition on his Radio 2 Breakfast Show today.
The annual competition is open to children aged between 5-13 years of age. He revealed that this year’s live final will take place on Friday 8 June from the stage of the Hampton Court Palace Festival.
The competition is now open and the closing date for entries is 7pm on Thursday 22 February.
2018’s competition features a brand new prize for the winners – they will be treated to a ride in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang around Hampton Court Palace’s grounds and down to the river where they will have Tea on the Thames on Her Majesty The Queen’s Rowbarge, Gloriana.
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall returns as Honorary Judge for the competition, and to mark its launch features in a very special animation where HRH is seen flying over the UK in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Chris Evans behind the wheel. HRH first supported 500 WORDS in 2015 and has been an Honorary Judge since 2016. The other judges are Malorie Blackman, Francesca Simon, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Charlie Higson.
And more children than ever before will be able to attend the live final – as well as the short-listed top 50 story-writers, entrants will be selected at random to come along and watch the show, filling the 3000 festival seats.
Chris Evans says, “This year’s 500 WORDS is going to be Chitty Bang-tastic! I encourage children across the UK to fire up their creative engines, accelerate their imaginations and go full steam ahead to write us an amazing story and perhaps see us at the live final in June!”
Lewis Carnie, Head of BBC Radio 2, says: “We’re thrilled that 500 WORDS is returning for its eighth year. Last year we had a record 131,798 entries, and I’m so proud that Radio 2 is inspiring children all over the UK to get creative and produce such brilliant stories year after year.”