Our School Librarian, Miss Neal was honoured to be asked to judge the BBC Radio Two 500 Words Competition this year. She has shared her experiences with us:
BBC Radio Two once again held the 500 words competition this year culminating in a special virtual final on Friday 12th June as it was not possible for the original final planned at Buckingham Palace to be held due to Covid 19. Celebrating its 10th birthday the UK’s largest story-writing competition for children attracted a staggering 134,709 entries.
Any children may enter in either of the age classes and all entrants must write an original story of no more than 500 words in length and submit it online. It can be about ANYTHING.
Stories are judged anonymously without regard to grammar, punctuation or spelling but content, originality and characterisation are important.
I was honoured to be a judge for the second year running but this year was different I became a ‘Superjudge’. The quest for judges started in January and librarians were sent details of how to be a judge. Having filled in the relevant application form I sent it off not expecting to hear again. However shortly after I was told I had been selected as a judge in the 10 – 13 group. I was originally sent 20 stories to read and judge each one giving marks in the various categories. Then I was asked if I would judge some extra stories and give more information therefore becoming a ‘superjudge’. Of course I agreed and I read over 100 stories everyone with their individual slant the topics varied from spaceships to horror and ghosts, from the Holocaust to talking animals, from being lonely to adventures with friends. Some left the reader suspended and wanting for more whilst others gave a complete story. Every one a joy to read opening a new reading adventure. It was difficult to judge, mustn’t be bias to a subject I am particularly interested in, does the content thrill , terrify, me , make me laugh or cry, do I like the characterisation do I understand the characters, do I care about them. In reading I considered each story on its own merit and tried to give a fair mark including one full marks. Having marked them they were submitted for the next round.
The competition culminated in a virtual Zoom Party broadcast extravaganza wth special guests including the Duchess of Cornwall and the winners were announced having been chosen by an expert panel including Chris Evans, Zoe Ball, Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottell Boyce and Charlie Higson. In the 10 – 13 group the winner was The Diary of a £5 Note.
I was so honoured to be a superjudge and see so much talent and imagination on show.