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2011 Contest

Adam Sirgany Named Winner of the 2011 ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Article posted April 15, 2011

Read the stories!

First Prize:

"Andrew at Eid"

by Adam Sirgany

Honorable Mention:

"The Zoo"

by Julia Ohman

Adam Sirgany, a senior at Knox College, has been named the winner of the 39th annual ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Sirgany's story "Andrew at Eid" was selected from the 41 stories submitted for the contest by students from ACM colleges. The contest carries with it a First Prize of $1,000, made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor.

Binnie Kirshenbaum, novelist and professor and chair of the Writing Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts, served as the 2011 contest's final judge. In commenting on "Andrew at Eid," Kirshenbaum wrote:

The Koranic story of Ishaq and Ibrahim is both the occasion and the subtext for this richly textured tale of filial love and the subsequent loss of innocence. The juxtaposition of generations and cultures within this Egyptian-American family is portrayed with honesty and love. They emerge as multi-dimensional and complicated people. The inevitable but unexpected clash — disturbing and poignant — nonetheless results in wise acceptance of the seasons of life. It is also a very funny story.

Adam Sirgany

Adam Sirgany

Adam Sirgany is a political science major at Knox College in Galesburg, IL. He has always been surrounded by books and the art of storytelling, he said, and currently is working on an honors project that profiles several homeless and formerly homeless individuals and their relationships to art and creativity. After graduating from Knox College in June, he hopes to continue his education and to combine his interests in political science and creative writing.

Sirgany would like to thank his readers, editors, and translators, especially Robin Metz, the Philip Sidney Post Professor of English at Knox College, who was dedicated to making this story work. Sirgany noted, "I just put an idea on paper, and they all worked to give it shape." He would also like to thank the donor who made the contest possible, the ACM faculty committee, and the final judge.

Honorable Mention Awarded to Sam Martone and Julia Ohman

Julia Ohman

Julia Ohman

Professors Rebecca Entel and Shannon Reed of Cornell College and Marlon James and Wang Ping of Macalester College were the initial faculty readers for the 2011 Nick Adams Contest, choosing five finalists from which Kirshenbaum selected the First Prize and two Honorable Mention stories – "Luggage Lost" by Sam Martone and "The Zoo" by Julia Ohman, both also from Knox College.

Kirshenbaum noted that "Luggage Lost" is a "wonderfully imagined story. Surprise delights the reader on every page." The author, Martone, was also a Nick Adams Contest finalist in the 2009 for his story titled "Hangman."

"The Zoo" by Ohman is a "powerful coming-of-age story further enriched by the engaging narrator's grappling with his sexual orientation," Kirschenbaum wrote. "The complex settings are vivid and the characters are sympathetic."

  • Read "The Zoo" by Julia Ohman, 2011 Honorable Mention story

The two other stories selected as finalists by the faculty judges were “Inheritance” by Rachel Johnson of Luther College and “Let’s Harvest Sister” by Tressa Versteeg of Macalester College.


Binnie Kirshenbaum

Binnie Kirshenbaum

Binnie Kirshenbaum served as 2011 final judge

Binnie Kirshenbaum, professor of fiction writing at the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts, is the author of several books and short story collections.

Selected as one of the Best Young American Novelists by Granta Magazine, Kirshenbaum has also won two Critics' Choice Awards. Her novels Hester Among the Ruins and An Almost Perfect Moment were named a Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the Year in 2002 and 2005, respectively. She has also contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Read more

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