‘Pants’ tale among winners of BBC short story award

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Mya Dainty and celebrity reader Hugh Bonneville at the 500 Words final (Kieron McCarron/BBC/PA)

A short story written “from the point of view of a pair of pants” has triumphed in a BBC competition in which all the winners were girls.

Mya Dainty’s prize for her tale, Pants!, is the Duchess of Cornwall’s height in books.

BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show’s 500 Words competition received almost 113,000 entries this year and the six winners were announced in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Prizes include award founder Chris Evans’ height in books for gold winners, Camilla’s height in books for silver recipients, while bronze winners receive their own height in books.

Winning stories were read by Hugh Bonneville, Konnie Huq, Helen McCrory, Michael Sheen, Sandi Toksvig and David Walliams.

Pants! won the silver award in the five to nine-year-olds category for being “laugh-out-loud funny”.

Novelist Frank Cottrell-Boyce said: “The idea of a family running away from their own knickers will stay with me for a long time.”

And author Charlie Higson said: “I don’t think I’ve ever read a story before that was written from the point of view of a pair of pants.”

The five other winners were also female.

Snow Blood Window Frame by Eve Molloy, a “humorous retelling of a classic fairytale”, won the gold category in the same age group.

Fragile Freya by Rosa Moody, “about the fragility in all of us”, scooped the bronze, in a year when there were “a lot of very moving stories about anxiety and depression”.

Why Did The Chicken by Esme Harrison-Jones, the “hilarious struggles of daft chickens”, won gold in the 10 to 13-year-old category.

Tyrannos-oral Hygiene by Millie Robinson, about a T-Rex with toothache who needs a trip to the dentist, won silver, and A Walk In The Park by Beth Helliwell took bronze.

Since its launch in 2011, more than 900,000 children have submitted stories for the competition.

Radio 2 Breakfast Show host Zoe Ball, who was at the event alongside her Breakfast Show predecessor Evans, said it was an “honour to meet the fabulously talented writers of the 500 Words-winning stories”.

Authors on the judging panel included Malorie Blackman and Francesca Simon, as well as Cottrell-Boyce and Higson, while the duchess was honorary judge.

Analysis of thousands of submissions to the competition previously revealed that Prime Minister Theresa May and Brexit are having a surprising influence on children’s creativity.

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