500 Words 2023 launched at Buckingham Palace

Published

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

Related content

A speech by Her Majesty The Queen at the Charleston Festival 2024

Books and gardens are faithful friends to whom we can always turn to. They both have the ability to comfort, to cheer and to connect us with people and nature, reminding us...

16 May 2024
Press release 04 May 2024

Royal Patronages Review

Read more

A speech delivered by The Queen at a Reception to recognise those who support survivors of sexual assault and to relaunch of the Washbags Project

Thank you for sharing your stories, thank you for your kindness, thank you for not remaining strangers to those enduring the darkest of times, and, most of all, thank you for...

01 May 2024

The Queen's speech at a reception to recognise those who support survivors of sexual assault

Your stories and your experiences are vital tools as we seek to bring about change: to forge a world in which people, whoever and wherever they are, do not live in fear of...

01 May 2024

A speech by Her Majesty The Queen on her first visit to The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths’ Own), having been appointed as Colonel-in-Chief

My father described the Regiment as a “highly efficient entity, highly skilled, and full of personalities”, I have no doubt that your upcoming deployments will be...

23 April 2024

A speech by Her Majesty The Queen at a reception to celebrate International Women’s Day and to mark the end of the WOW Girls Festival Bus tour

Let your lives be the stones that will shatter glass ceilings everywhere and inspire generations to come.

12 March 2024
News

Commonwealth Day 2024

11 March 2024
Commonwealth Day Service 2024

A speech by Her Majesty The Queen at the Grand Final of BBC's 500 Words, Buckingham Palace

Between you, you have created more than a million stories of thought-provoking adventure for future generations to study and enjoy. Thank you to everybody who has taken part...

28 February 2024

The Queen's Introduction to Queen Mary's Dolls' House's Modern-Day Miniature Library

It has continued to enchant generations of children and adults who come to marvel at its perfect proportions, extraordinary attention to detail and, perhaps above all, the...

30 January 2024
News

The Queen visits Swindon

22 January 2024
Queen Camilla smiles after unveiling a plaque during a visit to the Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service's (SDASS) in Wiltshire, to mark the charity's 50th anniversary and highlight their work in support, prevention, education and early intervention, including work with perpetrators of domestic abuse.