Hello Dear Reader,

How many of you have tried to write a short story in just 500 words? Well, over 90,000 children did just that for BBC Radio 2 and Chris Evans show. I listened to this last year and the depth and brilliance of the stories were amazing. What was the most remarkable was the response to a simple radio request. Send in your stories.

Again this year it was announced and again thousands of young adults wrote their story. I made sure I listened to the show, which was broadcast live from Hay-on-wye. Itself a famous book town which I have visited more than once. Basically, it’s just books. Shops and shops of books. Almost like heaven.

I was taken aback by the winners as I am sure many were. They had some great ideas, beautiful sentences and really did set the atmosphere in their own way. You have to give credit to Radio 2 and Chris Evans for going with something that a few would think impossible given todays digital age.

Yet 90,000 odd wrote 500 words. That is a staggering 45 million words and more. The top 50 stories are online to read and I did hear the top ones read out this morning by some very famous people. They admitted how nervous they were to read such work, to make sure they did justice to the words. You could tell the passion, inspiration and sheer joy each story held.

You really should go and read the top stories. Forget the ages at first, just read. The imagination that goes to create these stories is wonderful. Within 500 words each of them create a world, one that can be explored further. Now look at the ages. There is a certain ‘wow’ factor. How many others will be inspired for next year? How many parents will encourage their children to take part?

What I did wonder, was how many parents felt the pressure of being asked about a competition like this? Could they cope with trying to understand the complex world created before them? Have people lost the ability to use or see words anymore? I know how difficult it can be to just write 500 words for a blog. Most times I rattle on about a topic, which does have a start and end sometimes. But to build a short story that takes something else.

In this digital age where stories are pushed at people, it is pleasing to find that stories are still being written. This event makes young people seek out what is in their imagination and let others see what they feel.

500 words may not seem much but in the right hands those words can create a whole new world. The stories will encourage others I am sure. Chris Evans has made this his own and good for him. These stories will pluck at the heart-strings, will make you laugh and entertain.

Tagline – 500 word stories. Read and enjoy.