Today, the Duchess of Cornwall appeared onstage at London’s Shakespeare Globe Theatre alongside BBC Radio Two morning show host, Chris Evans, to announce the winners for the sixth annual 500 words writing competition. Some of the winning submissions ranged from serious discussions on dementia, to the silly with one entry about a blood-thirsty pig.
The writing contest challenges children under the age of 13 to write a story in 500 words or less about any fictional topic of their choosing. The contest is held to promote literacy and creativity in children.
The gold, silver and bronze winners from the two categories were announced live from the Globe Theatre on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show. Accompanying the host and the Her Royal Highness were narrators Julie Walters and Tom Hiddleston who were supported by musical talents including One Republic, All Saints and Foxes.
This year there were 123,436 entries, 3,000 more submissions than last year’s contest.
Chris Evans said: “Once again, the children of the UK have proved that they are amazing wordsmiths. It’s been such a treat to hear the finalists’ stories brought to life at the final by our very special guest narrators. Keep those imaginations flowing – I absolutely cannot wait for next year!”
The Duchess of Cornwall was an honorary judge this year and presented the winners with their prizes. The other judges this year were Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Charlie Higson and Francesca Simon.
Some of the most common themes of this year’s entries included Star Wars, Shakespeare, Tim Peake and social media. One word, however more than trippled from last year – ‘refugee’. These were stories about children the same age as the writers themselves, being uprooted from their homes and their struggles with migrating and relocating to another country.
The Duchess mentioned how honoured she was to participate again by handing out awards for this year’s contest but how difficult it was to act as judge when there were so many wonderful entries.
She said: “I am delighted to be here with you again, but this year, it’s a serious responsibility.
“Chris Evans asked me to be a judge. Of course, it was a huge pleasure to read the brilliant stories you sent in, but it has been an almost impossible task to decide on the winners. What a wonderful place to celebrate another final! I must say, I thought St. James’s Palace was quite special, but being here in the Globe Theatre in William Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year is just perfect.”