Like Writing Short Stories, Then Radio 2’s 500 Words Is For You

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Like Writing Short Stories, Then Radio 2’s 500 Words Is For You

Story Writing competition

Updated 30th August 2021

Do You Like Writing Short Stories?

Story Writing competitionOnce again it is time for BBC Radio 2’s writing competition for children aged between 5 and 13. BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words is open to any budding authors who love writing short stories. You can participate as an individual or with your school. The choice is your own as to how you take part.

Are you interested in knowing more about this competition, keep reading and you will find out just what you need to do to enter.

500 Words 2020 – What Is It?

This competition is back for another year. Since being launched in 2011, it has saw 912,986 short stories entered. Last year showed over 110,000 competition entries.

BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words writing competition has become the biggest in the world for children. As the only requirement is a short story with no more than 500 words which can be about anything you want such as aliens, your family or even yourself. One thing to note about the competition is that grammar, punctuation and spelling are not important and the stories are judged anonymously.

To Submit Entries

Submitting entries for the competition must be done using the submission form from BBC Radio 2. This can be found online, and the same form is used for both an individuals or schools. An individual class or the school as a whole can be registered by schools.

Submitter Registration Account

Teachers, parents and Guardians must register for the Submitter’s Account. Once this has been done, then teachers are able to make use of the multiple uploader tool which lets them save a whole class’ drafts to their account at the same time. This tool is a great help and very handy too. Therefore, once all the stories have been finished and everyone is happy, then they can submit them all together.

Click the button below and create your Submitter Registration Account.

Closing Date For Entries

This year’s final entries date for the competition is Thursday 27th February 2020 at 8pm sharp, still time to get started on writing those short stories.

Before submitting any entries, the entrants need to complete stages 1 to 6 first. Make sure to check these out and take note that you are able to type on places like word and then copy and paste your story onto the submission form (make sure to check the rules if you plan to do this).

Rules And Regulations

Before submitting your entries make sure you check out the rules and regulations .

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are unsure about anything and would like some guidance or just to look at something from before, you can check out our FAQ section by clicking below.

Call To Action button for FAQ

Competition Prizes

There are two age groups for the prizes and these are 5-9 years old and 10-13 years old. Each age group has Gold, Silver and Bronze categories.

The prizes for each category consist of:

Gold Winners – The height of Chris Evans in books (they also get 500 books for their school).

Silver Winners – The height of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in books.

Bronze Winners – The height of themselves in books.

Click the button below and find out more about all the prizes.

 CTA Button for Prizes

Important Dates To Remember

BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words 2020 is OPEN right now, so get writing and submitting your stories. Always keep a copy for yourself because once you have submitted your entry, they will not be returned.

The competition this year will close on Thursday 27th February 2020 at 8pm sharp.  After this time, no more entries will be accepted. Make sure not to leave your stories to the last minute.

This years final of 500 words will take place in a location in London which has not been disclosed yet. It will take place on Friday June 12th, where the winners of each category and overall winners for each age group will be announced live by Zoe Ball on her BBC2 Breakfast show.


Like To Be A Judge

Do you fancy being one of the judges for the competition this year, then if you are a Teacher or Librarian and you are interested, register a Judge Account and apply to be a volunteer judge.

If you are interested and would like to create a Judge’s account or just more information on what to do to become a judge for the competition this year then click here.

Have You Not Started Yet, Lets Get Going

Radio 2 Competition 500 wordsDo not worry about spelling, grammar and punctuation, just let your imagination run wild and write an amazing story about absolutely anything at all.

If you are looking for helpful tips and hints, or would like to get are learning pack then visit the BBC Radio 2 website. There is lots of information plus tips and hints to help you if you are worrying about getting writers block. I am sure that as soon as you get those pens and pencils going, stopping them will be the hard thing.


By visiting this website, there are so many other things you have access to. You can check out stories from all the previous years that the competition has run. You can watch and listen to previous podcasts and there is also the availability to see what happened at the 2019 Final. This will also let you know who the winners were and what they thought about the experience of taking part and making it to the final.

I would certainly suggest that you visit the website and see what is available to you in case you find that you are needing any extra help or support but most of all enjoy yourself while writing your amazing story.

My Overall Opinion


I think this is an excellent opportunity for any child who loves writing stories. It is an ideal way for people to see the kind of material you are producing even at a young age. You never know, there could be that one publisher who loves your work and offers you that golden chance.

I am interested to hear your views on the BBC Radio 2 – 500 Words competition. Do you have , or know off any youngsters who love letting their imagination run wild while writing stories. Perhaps this could be interesting to them or they could tell their friends and their school.

It would be interesting to hear back from anyone who has entered, just to find out what they thought about the experience and to know if they made it into the last 50.

If you have any questions or feedback on this article, then please leave them in the comment section below or contact me at and I will be more than happy to answer them.


Images – courtesy of  BBC Radio 2 and Radio Times.



14 Responses

  1. Sylvia Harris says:

    Thank you for sharing.
    I know someone who is a wonderful storyteller in words. I would like to find a way to forward to her info about the competition. I look forward to reading more on these pages.

    • Chez says:

      Hi Sylvia, thank you and you are very welcome. I have answered both your comments on the other one, hope that this is alright for you. If you want to know more please let me know at any time.

  2. Sylvia Harris says:

    I read this page about competition requirements and realized that both of the writer’s I was thinking of are adults and the competition is for children. I will pas the website URL on to the female, she has a son. Perhaps he writes as well. One never knows.

    • Chez says:

      Hi Sylvia, the best way to give her the information is to either tell her to go to BBC Radio Two’s website or to give her one of the links that I provided. Either way, she would then get access to all that she needs to know if her son is interested in entering. The other thing you could advise her to do is to go online and read the article and she will get the links she needs as well. Thanks so much again for your interest in this article and I am pleased to see that it could be off help to you.

  3. Sujandar Mahesan says:

    My cousin is actually trying out for this competition this year. When I saw this I peeped in your article and I think it is very useful for him. You have listed all the rules and regulations of the competitions and a lot more essential things about it. I think this can be really useful for my cousin and I am definitely going to forward him this.

    Thank you so much for sharing this article.

    • Chez says:

      Hi Sujandar,

      Thank you for your comment and I am delighted to hear that your cousin is taking advantage of entering this competition and this post will give him all the information that he needs on it as well as useful links to other parts that he may find very helpful to him.

      I would be keen to know how he gets on with this venture and wonder if you would come back and let me know how he gets on. 

      Give him my best wishes and tell him I hope him all the best. Most of all though, tell him to have fun while writing that short story. 

  4. Cathy Cavarzan says:

    What a wonderful idea and a way to get children involved in not only story telling but also literary competitions. I wish it was around when I was younger. However I do have about three children in mind that I will be passing this opportunity on to. They are wonderful animated story tellers perhaps they can put a few of them into written word.

    • Chez says:

      Hi Cathy,

      Thank you very much for your comment and I am pleased to hear that you will be able to use this great opportunity for the 3 children. I wish them all the best with their entries if they choose to enter. 

      I never have been great at story writing but my son and daughter are, however they are too old to take part in this. It would have been a good thing to have had this around sooner but at least it happens now and all these young story writers can show their work to the world. You never know where these things can lead and what the outcome could be. 

  5. geebehn says:

    When it comes to good story telling, I try my best to outsmart my competitors.. But here it seems the competition are for children. I will give the website link to my Aunt, her children has a vast knowledge when it comes to telling and writing good stories.. I wish the competition included adults, I would have been interested to show my talents to the world and also try to win prizes..

    • Chez says:

      Thank you for your comment and I am sorry that this competition is only for children. 

      I am sure that your Aunt and her children will enjoy using the link and they will be able to produce great stories that can help them win some good prizes.

      I am sure that there must be the same kind of competition for adults. I will need to go and search that one out and I will certainly let you know if I do find anything so that you can show your great story telling to the world. 

  6. francis says:

    Hello Chez,This is very good for young writers to explore their imagination thru your BBC Radio 2 program.  It is good that your requirements are more or less 500 words in which the children will not have a hard time producing it.  It is also good to know that you do not have strict grammar rules on the short story.I totally agree with you that this is a golden opportunity for writers to be in the making.

    • Chez says:

      Hi Francis, 

      Thank you for your comment and yes, this competition is a great idea for any young person who loves to write. We both know that 500 words is not a lot to write, especially if you already have an idea on what you want to write about. Just put pen to paper and let the words flow, and enjoy what you are writing at the same time. I was pleased to see that they don’t need to worry about spelling, grammar and punctuation when they are young and this competition is also for them to have fun while they are writing.

      To win your height in books would be something I would love and I am sure that these youngsters will be the same. Once again I thank you for your comment. 

  7. Kaju says:

    This is GREAT Cheryl. I wish they had this writing competition when we were kids!

    • Chez says:

      Thanks Kaju, this is a great competition for kids who love to write short stories and have a great imagination
      as it allows them to express themselves through their writing. A great thing for them is that they do not have to worry
      about spelling, grammar and punctuation. The unfortunate thing though, it is only open to children in the UK. I think
      a lot of people probably think the same as yourself in that it would be nice to have had the same competition when they were

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