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Short Story Contest Named for Hemingway's 'Nick Adams' Returns

Published: November 2, 2020

Short Story Contest Named for Hemingway's 'Nick Adams' Returns

Ernest Hemingway, pictured here in London in 1944, wrote the stories for which the contest is named.

The forty-ninth annual Nick Adams Short Story Contest returns, offering a prize of $1,000 for the best story by an ACM student.

The competition is named for the young hero of many Hemingway stories.

Entries are once again being accepted for the Nick Adams Short Story Contest, now in its forty-ninth year. 

The writing competition, named for the young hero of many Hemingway stories, offers a prize of $1,000 for the best story by an ACM student. The prize was given by an anonymous donor to encourage young writers at ACM colleges.

In 2020, Ruby Elliot Zuckerman, a student at Macalester College, was awarded first prize for her story "scott disick sucks." The finalists and winners from past years are listed on the ACM website at

Distinguished Judges

One of the enduring highlights of the contest is the opportunity for students to have their work read by a prominent writer. Each year, a professional author serves as the guest judge, reading the finalists and selecting the winner. 

Past judges have included such writers as Maya Angelou, Saul Bellow, Larry Heinemann, Bharati Mukherjee, Joyce Carol Oates, Anne Tyler, John Updike, Stuart Dybek, Audrey Niffenegger, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and Scott Turow.

On serving as guest judge in 2019, Audrey Petty noted, "The reading was a pleasure; the choosing—on the other hand—was quite difficult," adding, "The range of style, vision, situation, conflict, and form within the finalist portfolio is formidable and impressive."

How to Participate

Each entrant may submit as many as two stories to their campus English department. The story need not have been written specifically for the competition, but it cannot have been previously published off-campus or reached finalist status in this contest. (Read the full guidelines.)

Each department will select the four best stories to send to the ACM office; a small committee of faculty drawn from colleges throughout the consortium will then select the finalists. The winner, selected by the guest judge, will be announced in April 2021.

Stories must arrive at the ACM office, from the English department, no later than February 12, 2021. For more information or to learn your on-campus submission deadline, please contact the chair of your college English department. 

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