Presenters Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood have launched a special version of 500 Words.

Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood have launched a new 500 Words competition, inviting children aged 5-13, of all ethnicities and backgrounds throughout the UK, to submit pieces of creative writing expressing personal experience, empathy, learning and respect, building on the international conversation around Black Lives Matter. 

500 Words celebrated its 10th anniversary during its 2020 Final on Friday 12th June. The new competition issues 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 encourages children to tap into their own creativity and imagination, using storytelling to share their experience and understanding of how different ethnicities and cultures interact. 

Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood said, “We are so excited to be a part of this new era of the 500 Words challenge, asking young people for the first time to write about a specific theme, and in this case, Black Lives Matter. For both of us, writing has always been a powerful tool to help us work through difficult subjects that are often tricky to articulate. This fantastic competition will give children from all backgrounds across the UK, the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about the recent tragic events, the global response to it and how it has impacted us all. Empowering the next generation to share their personal views through their love of writing is brilliant!” 

Angellica and Michael are joined by supporters of the competition from the entertainment industry including Aasmah Mir, Adam Kay, Amanda Abbington, Barney Harwood, Beverley Knight, Colin Jackson, Dr Ranj, Fay Ripley, Hermione Norris, Konnie Huq, John Pienaar, Noel Clarke, Paula Radcliffe, Shobna Gulati and Stephen Graham.  In addition, publishing houses throughout the UK are supporting the initiative, including Atlantic, Bonnier Books UK, Canongate, Faber & Faber, Hachette UK, HarperCollins UK, Pan Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Profile, Puffin (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and Simon & Schuster.

Children will be able to submit their written work from Monday 29th June with a deadline of Friday 3rd July. All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of professional readers, up until the semi-finals take place live on air from 13th – 16th July. Angellica and Michael will chair the judging panel and will be joined by an illustrious team to judge the semi-finals, which includes former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman OBE, actor, comedian and author Charlie Higson, children’s author Francesca Simon, and screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell-Boyce. 

Winners will be invited to join Chris Evans, creator of the 500 Words initiative, on the Virgin Radio Breakfast Show on 17th July (with further prize details to be revealed).


More information about the entry process and details on how to submit stories, and can be found here: 500Words.me