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BBC 500 Words 2017

magneticNorth help bring 500 Words competition to 2017 storytellers

Digital design studio magneticNorth has supported the BBC in creating their 500 Words competition submission site, which went live January 16th.

Chris Evans started his BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition in 2010 with the aim to get children excited about reading and writing. It is now one of the most successful story-writing competitions in the world, with nearly half a million children submitting stories over the years.

The competition ends in a live broadcast finale on Evans’ breakfast show where acclaimed judges award the authors of their favorite stories. Last year judges included Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Francesca Simon along with honorary judge, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall.

magneticNorth has helped the BBC in the development of their 500 Words website since 2014 and since then, the competition’s popularity has grown exponentially. Last year the total submissions to the site reached over 120,000 so in order to reflect the growing demands, the website itself has had to adapt and grow too.

This year, magneticNorth’s design team worked closely with the BBC to create a whole new system to help make the process of submitting short stories easier and smoother not just for the writers, but for the internal BBC teams and competition judges too.

Submissions to the site will be open from Monday 16 January and the closing date for all stories will be Thursday 23 February. The live final will air from the Tower of London on Friday 16 June.

“It’s a great honour for us to be involved with one of the most successful story-writing competitions in the world. 500 Words is a fantastic platform for children to showcase their amazing and refreshing story-writing talent. The team at mN wish everyone who takes part the best of luck!”

Tom Hackett, Head of Client Service magneticNorth



Notes to editor

About magneticNorth


Founded in 2000, magneticNorth is an independent digital design studio based in Manchester, UK. mN specialises in digital strategy, UX and prototyping, building magnetic digital experiences for a diverse mix of clients including the BBC, BFI and Google.


About 500 Words


500 Words is BBC Radio 2's annual short story competition for children aged five to 13. The competition encourages children around the country to get creative and send in their stories of no more than 500 words.

The Duchess of Cornwall will return as an honorary judge in this year's 500 Words, which was launched by Radio 2 breakfast show host Chris Evans.

This is the seventh year of the initiative, which received more than 123,000 entries in 2016. The closing date for entries is 19:00 GMT on 23 February and the live final will take place on 16 June.