An inspiring collection of short stories submitted by children to the 500 Words: Black Lives Matter competition run by Virgin Radio in July is published today, with all royalties to be matched by publisher Bonnier Books and donated to Coram Beanstalk, enabling us to reach even more children in Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities who need reading support. 


Around 6,000 children aged between 5 and 13 submitted stories building on the debate initiated by the Black Lives Matter movement, from which a judging panel, chaired by Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood and including Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Francesca Simon and Frank Cottrell-Boyce, then selected 100 for inclusion in the book.  


500 Words: Black Lives Matter also includes a foreword from Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans, analysis of the writing from Oxford University Press and writing tips for young writers from the judges. The illustrious judging panel, reviewed thousands of submissions from which they have shortlisted eight finalists and selected a further 92 stories to be included in this important and timely collection. 

Ginny Lunn, MD of Coram Beanstalk said “I am delighted that Coram Beanstalk has been chosen to benefit from sales of this important collection of stories from children related to the Black Lives Matter conversation. These much-needed funds will enable us to both reach more children who are in need of our support and enable us to recruit more volunteer reading helpers from under-represented communities. 

Coram Beanstalk is committed to ensuring that our books, reading helpers and our values are as inclusive and diverse as possible and that every child is equipped with the reading skills  they need to fulfil their potential.” 

Helen Wicks, Executive Director for Children’s Trade at Bonnier Books UK, added “‘We are utterly thrilled to be publishing this landmark book and to be partnering with an organisation like Coram who have a long history of supporting children who need it most.” 


The competition was supported by Virgin Radio and a range of incredible celebrities. Winning entries were read on the show by Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong, David Tennant, Rob Brydon, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Shobna Gulati, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Abbington, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Stephen Graham. The audio of these readings is available via Amazon Alexa. 

The book can be purchased via this link