Congratulations To Our Winners

In the 5-9 age group, the winning story is I FEEL OUT OF CONTROL! by Sara

In the 10-13 age group, the winning story is Kristofer Was Quiet In School Today by Lucy

Whilst the standard throughout the competition has been incredibly high, these two compelling stories stood out as brilliantly accomplished pieces of writing, with creativity, emotion and powerful meaning. Sara and Lucy are set to join a whole host of celebrities on a fantastic winners day starting in the Virgin Radio Breakfast studio and with more special prizes to come!

A big shout-out to all of our finalists for their wonderful stories.

Of the submissions, judge Malorie Blackman OBE said, “The standard and quality of the stories we received was awe-inspiring. They were poignant, moving and some were extremely heartfelt. My congratulations to all the finalists.”

You can read the finalist and winning stories plus a selection of other stories submitted in our exclusive 500 Words book, set to be published by Studio Press, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, in September.

Thank you to EVERYONE who submitted or marked a story, what a whirlwind competition it has been and couldn’t have done it without you.

Finalist Stories

This edition of the 500 Words competition has produced some wonderful pieces of writing showing creativity, understanding and a strong identity. The judges worked tirelessly to whittle the stories down and create a list of eight finalists. It is safe to say that the standard of work was incredibly high!

Dive in to the finalist’s stories below…

The Difference We Are Making Together

This competition issued a brief intended to encourage important conversations at home, at school and across the nation, on the themes and issues emerging from the Black Lives Matter movements around the world. The initiative encouraged children to tap into their own creativity and imagination, using storytelling to share their experiences and understanding of this global movement.

  • 500 Words: Black Lives Matter had 5983 pieces of writing submitted in the five days that submissions were open.
  • There were over 1,000 registered public judges reading these works and submitting marks.
  • Through continuing to work with Oxford University Press*, children’s language experts, we have been able to interpret more fully, the stories submitted. This data will be utilised to help inform writings across the UK.
    • There was a 1,250% increase in the use of political language, indicating understanding and awareness of the climate we are currently living in
    • Analysing the language sentiment in these stories, it was found that 63% are ‘happy’ words and 38% ’sad’
    • Words that have shown the biggest increase in mentions when compared to stories already in our Corpus were racism, racial, racist, segregation, and ethnic.
  • Through the sale of our 500 Words: Black Lives Matter book, set to be published by Studio Press, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, in September, we will be supporting the charity Coram Beanstalk, who recruit, train and support volunteers to provide consistent, one-to-one reading support to children aged 3-13, across the UK, who need literacy support.

* 500 Words: Black Lives Matter data and insights are from the Oxford Children’s Corpus and the Children’s Dictionaries and Children's Language department at Oxford University Press. The Oxford Children’s Corpus is a growing database of writing for and by children developed and maintained by Oxford University Press for the purpose of children’s language research.