500 Words 2023 launched at Buckingham Palace

Published 28 September 2023

500 Words - the BBC's annual writing competition for children - launched this year's search for creative storytellers aged five to 11 with  a message from The Queen herself.

500 words message from The Queen

Her Majesty, who is involved in a number of literacy initiatives, as well as promoting a love of reading through her Reading Room charity, sent a special message to author Sir Lenny Henry, who has joined this year's panel of judges.

The message - in the form of a poem - was a call to action for young entrants to get writing, reading to submit their entries by Friday 10 November. 

Head to the BBC website to find out more about how to enter.

Here's Her Majesty's message in full:

I send this letter, dear Sir Lenny,

to ask you kindly if there’s any

chance you might today at Breakfast

tell your viewers of a contest,

which inspires imagination,

creativity, celebration.

The call, you will, I’m sure, have heard:

“Send us your Five Hundred Words!” 

If you’re aged from five to seven,

or from eight up to eleven.

write your story, send it in:

you could be the one to win!

Any subject, any style:

make us marvel, make us smile,

make us think – and think again.

You have until November 10.

The hunt is on. We seek a star. 

The best of luck.

– Camilla R

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