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Bestselling Author Karen Abbott to Select Winner of Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Published: November 22, 2016

Bestselling Author Karen Abbott to Select Winner of Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Author Karen Abbott will choose the winner of the $1,000 prize in the Nick Adams Contest.

Karen Abbott, author of New York Times bestsellers American Rose and Sin in the Second City, will serve as final judge for the 45th annual Nick Adams Short Story Contest.

The competition for students at ACM colleges carries a $1,000 cash prize for the author of the winning story, which Abbott will select from a group of finalist stories. Students can enter the Nick Adams contest by submitting their short stories to the English department on their campus.

Abbott’s most recent book, Liar Temptress Soldier Spy, was named one of the best books of 2014 by Library Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, Amazon, and Flavorwire, and was optioned by Sony for a mini-series.

Women are at the center of Abbott’s meticulously-researched works of historical nonfiction. Sin in the Second City (2007) chronicled the lives of the two sisters who ran the famed Everleigh Club brothel in Chicago in the early 20th century and American Rose (2012) brought to life the dramatic career of the inimitable stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.

As with her first two books, Abbott amassed a trove of archival material in writing Liar Temptress Soldier Spy, her vivid account of espionage and intrigue focused on four women who were spies during the Civil War — two for the Union and two for the Confederacy. She culled diaries, memoirs, letters, court transcripts, and other primary sources for rich details of the women’s escapades, and quotes for the primary characters’ dialogue.

A native of Philadelphia, Abbott now lives in New York City, where she’s at work on her next book.

Named after the young protagonist of many stories by Ernest Hemingway, the Nick Adams Short Story contest was established in 1973 with funds from an anonymous donor to encourage fiction writing at ACM colleges.

Over the years, final judges for the contest have included such writers as Maya Angelou, John Updike, Audrey Niffenegger, Larry Heinemann, Bharati Mukherjee, Joyce Carol Oates, Anne Tyler, and Stuart Dybek.

Guidelines for Nick Adams Contest entries

  • Students enrolled in good standing at ACM member colleges are eligible to enter the contest. You do not need to be an English major or enrolled in an English course to enter.
  • Stories need not have been written especially for the contest, but cannot previously have been published off-campus or been selected as a finalist in the Nick Adams Contest.
  • There is a 10,000 word limit for entries.
  • All entries must be submitted to the English department on the student’s home campus. The ACM office will not accept entries directly from students.
  • Students should contact the English department on their campus for information about the on-campus submission deadline.

The English department at each college will select the four best entries to send to the ACM office in February. A small committee of faculty drawn from consortial colleges will choose finalist stories to forward to the final judge. The results of the 2017 competition will be announced in mid-March.


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