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2003 Contest

Ross Kelly of Knox College Named 2003 Winner for His Story "Templeton Appeared Stoic"

Press release in May 2003

Ross Kelly, a senior at Knox College, has been named the winner of the 31st annual ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest.

Mr. Kelly's story, "Templeton Appeared Stoic," was selected from 40 stories submitted by students from ACM colleges. Professors Susan Dobrian of Coe College and Mark Baechtel of Grinnell College served as initial faculty readers for the contest, selecting the six finalists from which the final judge made her choice.

Jean Thompson -- novelist, short story author, and professor at the University of Illinois -- served as the final judge for the contest this year, which carries with it a first prize of $1,000, made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor.

In commenting on Mr. Kelly's story, Ms. Thompson wrote:

"Templeton Appeared Stoic" is a risky story whose subject matter -- the sexual abuse of children -- is queasy, even brutal. The story does not veer away from what is difficult, yet neither does it sensationalize. Its emphasis is instead on the psychology of memory and of repression. It shows how family history, both spoken and unspoken, shapes lives. This is one of the few stories I've read recently that handles two different point of view successfully. When the different versions of reality, the father's and the son's, collide, we see how both men have been wounded. This is a mature and accomplished story. I admire it very much.

Ross Kelly is a Creative Writing major at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He grew up in Kansas, where, in his own words, he was "raised by a herd of bison." Currently in his senior year, Mr. Kelly recently completed an Honors Project in which he wrote and directed a play entitled "Deserters." Following graduation, he will join the Teach for America Corps in the Mississippi Delta.

  • Text of "Templeton Appeared Stoic" by Ross Kelly. (Note: This story is reprinted with permission. Reproduction of this story without the express, written permission of the author is prohibited.)

2003 Finalists

Sarah Aswell, Grinnell College -- "Mrs. Wells Takes a Call" (Honorable Mention)
Benjamin Jacobson, St. Olaf College -- "The Young Lutheran's Guide to Trippin' Balls"
Ross Kelly, Knox College -- "Templeton Appeared Stoic" (Winning Story)
Liz Mathews, Coe College -- "The Way You Made Them Suffer"
Schonali Rebello, Knox College -- "Coconuts" (Honorable Mention)
Daniel Sinykin, St. Olaf College -- "The Hibernating Outpost"