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500 Words 2019 launches

500 Words 2019 launches

29 January 2019

Once again we have joined forces with BBC Radio 2, to launch the annual 500 Words children’s short-story writing competition, with Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall returning as an Honorary Judge.

Each year we collaborate with BBC Radio 2 on the 500 Words competition, to choose our Children’s Word of the Year, whilst also helping us to reach into schools and further support teachers. Since 2012, our language experts have been analysing the competition entries in order to capture children’s fascinating and evolving use of language and pick out key trends and themes. Previous children’s words of the year include plastic (2018), trump (2017), refugee (2016), hashtag (2015), minion (2014), and mum (2013).

Helen Freeman, OUP’s Director of Publishing Operations and Home Sector, says: ‘Every year we are blown away by the creative ways children use language to tell their stories and we can’t wait to see what they will surprise us with in 2019. Our language experts analyse the stories to make fascinating discoveries about children’s language and we use these findings to create resources that help children from all backgrounds develop the language skills they need to succeed in their learning and in life.’

Since 500 Words was created in 2011, more than 800,000 children have taken part by getting creative and submitting their stories. The competition asks children in the UK aged between five and 13 years of age to compose an original work of fiction using no more than 500 words. This year’s live final will take place on Friday 14 June in the surroundings of Windsor Castle, one of the oldest and largest inhabited castles in the world. 

BBC Presenter Zoe Ball, commented: ‘I’m so proud and excited to be launching 500 Words 2019. I encourage all of our younger listeners to delve deep into their imaginations, and perhaps it could be you heading to the live final at one of the world’s most iconic buildings, Windsor Castle, in June!’

The competition is now open and the closing date for entries is 7pm on Thursday 8 March.

Full details are available at bbc.co.uk/500words