Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood launch BLM children's writing competition

It aims to encourage conversations about the issues raised by the movement.

Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood have launched a Black Lives Matter version of Chris Evans’ 500 Words writing competition for children.

The pair, who are married, will be joined on the judging panel by Noughts And Crosses author Malorie Blackman, comic Charlie Higson, children’s author Francesca Simon and novelist Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

The competition aims to encourage conversations at home and at school about the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Waterstones Children�s Laureate 20th anniversary
Malorie Blackman is on the judging panel (ian West/PA)

Winners will be invited to join Evans, who created the initiative 10 years ago, on his Virgin Radio Breakfast Show on July 17.

He launched the new competition during his show on Tuesday, saying: “500 Words has enabled children to stretch their creative writing skills for over 10 years, with more than a million entries submitted.

“We’re excited to be able to continue the initiative with a focus on encouraging children to write stories with their own voices, not filtered by the thoughts of adults.”

Bell and Underwood said: “We are so excited to be a part of this new era of the 500 Words challenge, asking young people for the first time to write about a specific theme, and in this case, Black Lives Matter.

“For both of us, writing has always been a powerful tool to help us work through difficult subjects that are often tricky to articulate.

“This fantastic competition will give children from all backgrounds across the UK, the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about the recent tragic events, the global response to it and how it has impacted us all.

“Empowering the next generation to share their personal views through their love of writing is brilliant.”

Children aged between five and 13 will be able to submit their work from June 29, with a deadline of July 3.

Further details of the prize will be announced in due course.

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