Over the past couple of days we have been looking at the top 50 finalist stories for the BBC 500 words short story competition. On Wednesday we looked at the 5-9 years old stories, and yesterday we looked at the 10-13years old stories. But today, it was the grand final! I look forward to this show every year.
Before we get into the final though, it is worth quickly mentioning the Oxford University Press partners with the BBC for this competition and each year they do an analysis of the language used. If you’re a nerd like me, it’s a fascinating read. You can read the 2019 report here.
Anyway, what happened in the final? I’m glad you asked. Hey ho, let’s go!
This year’s final took place at the grand Windsor Castle, home of the Queen. The 50 finalists are all invited, and many were there in attendance (with their families). The show kicked with a couple of live performances from Tom Walker.
After a little bit of waiting, it was finally time to announce the first winners. The bronze winning stories from each category. Bronze winners win their own height in books, and have their story illustrated!
Konnie Huq, who has just released her first children’s book, gave some tips on writing in 500 word blocks. She also announced the winner in the 5-9 years old category.
Fragile Freya by Rosa Moody
This was also my bronze pick. The story was read by Konnie Huq. Rosa told us how she planned the story in just half a day! Well done, Rosa!
Illustration by Susan Varley.
We then got even more live music from Tom Walker, and Sandi Toksvig came out to announce the 10-13 years old bronze winner.
A Walk in the Park by Beth Helliwell
A wonderful little horror story. Beth told us how she likes to write stories and how she wrote her first story sat in a tree in Australia. Sandi read the story. Well done, Beth!
Illustration by Briony May Smith.
We then got a live performance from Busted, which was a blast from the past! And then it was time for the silver winners. The Silver winners will be awarded a stack of books as tall as The Duchess of Cornwall and have their stories illustrated.
500 Words regular Hugh Bonneville came out to talk a little about the Downtown movie, Paddington and Paddington 2. He spoke a little about the importance of how good movie characters come from good stories. He then announced the silver winning story in the 5-9 years old category.
PANTS! by Mya Dainty
Mya told us how she wrote the story in just a couple of days, and how she wanted to write something funny and good. She said writing is something good to do when bored. I agree, Mya. Well done! Hugh read the story.
Illustration by Jarvis.
We got another live performance from Busted, covering Castle on the Hill (they are in a castle on a hill, dyageddit?!). Michael Sheen came out to announce our next winner, the silver in 10-13 years old category. He spoke a little about Good Omens, the Homeless World Cup, and helping to preserve a Banksy.
Tyrannos-Oral Hygiene by Millie Robinson
Millie was blown away, and told us how her first draft was 700 words long! She said when she gets older she either wants to be a rapper, or a barrister! Michael Sheen read the story. Well done, Millie!
Illustration by David Roberts.
We got another performance from Busted, which was a thing. Chris Evans, former Radio 2 Breakfast Show host, and creator of the 500 words competition, came out with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, future queen of the UK. They spoke a little about some of the stories that didn’t make the final cut, and of how happy they are with how big the competition has become. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall gave her annual address in which she spoke about her love of words and the English vocabulary. She gave her thanks to all the young wordsmiths who showed us the joy of words!
And then it was time to announce the gold winners! The Gold winners in each age group won a pile of books as tall as Chris Evans (1.88 metres) and 500 books for their school library. They also got their story illustrated.
Out came Helen McCrory to announce the gold winner in the 5-9 years old category. She spoke about some of her favourite stories as a child.
Snow Blood Window Frame by Eve Molloy
Such a fun and entertaining story. Eve cried. We all cried! She told us how she has a lot of ideas in her brain! I can’t wait to read more from her in the future. Well done, Eve! Helen read the story.
Illustration by Helen Oxenbury.
We got a wonderful performance by Francesca from Matilda the Musical, and then David Walliams, best selling children’s author, came out to announce our final winner. He spoke a little of his stories before announcing the gold winner in the 10-13 years old category.
Why Did the Chicken… by Esme Harrison-Jones
Esme was overwhelmed! She cried. We all cried. She told us how she has always liked comedy and so decided to use a popular joke for her story. Well done, Esme! The story was read by David Walliams.
Illustration by Tony Ross.
And that’s the 2019 BBC 500 Words competition. It’s such a wonderful competition. Well done to every single child that wrote a story this year, all 112,986 and more. It’s such a joyous thing to see children being so passionate about stories and storytelling. Anything that encourages children to take an interest in books and stories is something to be celebrated. And how do the judges even choose the winners when the standard is so high? All 56 stories are well deserved winners. Also, hashtag girlpower!
Photo by Rebecca English.
I hope you’ve enjoyed joining me on our little journey through this year’s competition. It’s been a blast, and I look forward to 2020! Anyway, I’m off to write a story (of course). Until next time, peace and love!