Entertainment

Chris Evans relaunches 500 Words contest with Black Lives Matter theme


Michael Underwood and Angellica Bell in 2012Image copyright
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Presenters Michael Underwood and Angellica Bell are among the judges

DJ Chris Evans is to continue his 500 Words contest on his Virgin Radio show, starting by asking children to write stories on a Black Lives Matter theme.

He launched the competition in 2011 on BBC Radio 2’s breakfast show, and it was carried on by Zoe Ball after he moved to Virgin last year.

Two weeks ago, the BBC said this year’s contest would be its last.

Now, Evans has appealed for children aged between five and 13 to address the global movement’s themes and issues.

Presenters Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood will join Malorie Blackman and other writers on the judging panel.

The couple said they were “so excited” to be part of the contest’s “new era”.

Children can submit their work between 29 June and 3 July, with winners to be announced on Evans’ show on 17 July.

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Chris Evans moved from Radio 2 to Virgin in 2019

Organisers have encouraged UK children of all ethnicities and backgrounds to submit “pieces of creative writing expressing personal experience, empathy, learning and respect”.

The aim of the competition, they said, was for children to use storytelling “to share their experience and understanding of how different ethnicities and cultures interact”.

Bell and Underwood said the contest would enable children “to share their thoughts and feelings about the recent tragic events, the global response to it and how it has impacted us all”.

Evans said 500 Words would continue “with a focus on encouraging children to write stories with their own voices, not filtered by the thoughts of adults”.

Support for the Black Lives Matter movement has swelled across the UK since the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in May.

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