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500 words 2015

This is... how to enter Radio 2's short story competition

Since 2014, we've supported the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show team in the development of their children's writing competition, 500 Words. Through our work on the competition's online submission system, it's been fantastic to play a part in the much loved writing challenge, which asks children under the age of 13 to write a short story in no more than 500 words.

So far, the competition has successfully encouraged thousands of children to get writing, with over 50 million words submitted. Past winners were announced at a swanky celebrity filled event at the Hay Festival for 2014 followed by St James’s Palace last year, with readings of the victorious tales by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch, Sally Hawkins and our personal man-crush, Hugh Bonneville!

After the success of the past two competitions, we were delighted to continue our work on the 500 Words site for a third year running. Throughout our time with 500 Words, we’ve enhanced the features and functionality of the submission site, including a simplified entry form and improved search filtering. 

We’re also happy to see our random word generator ‘Alphabot’ back for another year. The generator has been designed to stimulate creativity in the children writing the stories. Alphabot was so popular with the children in the competition that it managed to generate a staggering 255 billion word combinations to help inspire them.

We look forward to 2016’s entries and are thrilled to be part of another exciting year for 500 Words!

BBC Radio & Music Multiplatform commissioned the project and the online submission process we developed was an extension of the system we delivered for BBC Writersroom in early 2014.

2015’s competition closed with a total of 120,421 entries, which was 1,750 more than 2014!