Zoe Ball has praised the stories that have made it through to the final round of BBC Radio 2 breakfast show’s 500 Words short story competition as “hilarious, super inventive and often very moving”.
Some 56 stories written by children have been chosen from 134,709 entries submitted this year and honorary judge the Duchess of Cornwall, chair of judges Chris Evans and award-winning authors Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Charlie Higson and Francesca Simon, as well as Ball, will choose the final winners.
Ball said: “In such strange and difficult times, it has been an absolute joy to read the hilarious, super inventive and often very moving stories cooked up by brilliant young writers up and down the country.
“I’m delighted that the Great British public now has the opportunity to enjoy the very best stories which have been beautifully narrated by professional actors. What a treat!”
Former Radio 2 DJ Evans first created and launched the competition in 2011.
Of the stories that made it through to this final stage, 31 were written by girls and 25 by boys from all over the country.
Helen Thomas, head of content commissioning for Radio 2, said: “Now in its tenth year, the entries to BBC Radio 2 breakfast show’s 500 Words have proved to be even better than ever.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to each and every child who took part. Selecting these finalists was incredibly tough, so huge congratulations to all who’ve made it through.
“Whilst current circumstances surrounding coronavirus mean we are unfortunately no longer able to hold the live final at Buckingham Palace, rest assured that plans are under way for a truly wonderful virtual celebration in June instead.”
The six winners will be announced on the Radio 2 breakfast show on Friday June 12 and their stories read out on air by famous narrators.
Each of the children will also receive illustrations of their tale from a top children’s illustrator – with Tony Ross, Margaret Sturton, David Roberts, Sue Cheung, Fiona Lumbers and Axel Scheffler all taking part.