More than 6,000 entries were received from children all over the UK, which were read by members of The Reading Agency and more than 1,000 public judges. Eight finalists were chosen by the judging panel, which included authors Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Francesca Simon and Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Those eight pieces were broadcast on Virgin Radio and from those, the winners for the two age groups (five to nine years old and 10 to 13 years old) were picked.
In the younger age group, “I Feel Out Of Control” by nine-year-old Sara was picked as the winner. And in the older category, 10-year-old Lucy’s piece “Kristofer Was Quiet In School Today” was the winner.
The winning stories were read out live on air by actors Nicole Kidman and Mark Strong. These, along with the other finalists’ stories will now be available to listen to via Amazon Alexa. Use the Audible Stories Alexa Skill and simply ask, “Alexa, read me a 500 Words story,” to hear celebrities including David Tennant, Rob Brydon, Shobna Gulati, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jim Broadbent reading out the finalists’ stories.
All eight finalists will also have their stories included in a book containing a selection of the 500 Words: Black Lives Matter entries. This is set to be published by Studio Press in September. Any royalties from the book will be matched by the publisher and donated to children’s literacy and children’s BAME charities.
The 500 Words initiative was created by Chris Evans and first launched in 2011, celebrating its 10th anniversary in June this year. With an extraordinary legacy and over one million entries submitted to date, Evans joined forces with Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood to launch the most recent edition of the 500 Words initiative, with the theme of Black Lives Matter, as a means to encourage children and families to have positive conversations at home about world issues.
Visit 500 Words to find out more.