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Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Each year, ACM sponsors the Nick Adams Short Story Contest to celebrate the creativity and talent of student writers at ACM colleges and to highlight the excellent creative writing programs across the consortium.

The contest, named for the young protagonist of many Hemingway stories, is open to students currently enrolled at ACM colleges and awards a first prize of $1,000 to the author of the winning story.

2019 Nick Adams Contest Deadline is Feb. 15

Student entries are now being solicited for the forty-seventh annual Nick Adams Short Story Contest.

Entrants may submit as many as two stories to their campus English Department. 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 will be chosen by a professional writer.

Deadline for English departments to submit stories for consideration is February 15, 2019. 

Audrey Petty is final judge for 2019 contest

Audrey Petty

Author and educator Audrey Petty will serve as final judge for the 47th annual Nick Adams Short Story Contest.  A writer and educator from the South Side of Chicago, she is a 1990 graduate of Knox College, with a BA in French and concentration in American history. 

During her time at Knox, Petty says she was able to really “take herself seriously as a thinker—not only as a writer, as a creative person, but as a thinker.” She had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Besançon, France. In an interview with Knox College, Petty described her experience abroad as the “biggest decision” of her life at that point. “It gave me a different sense of who I was as an African-American, as an American. It gave me a different appreciation of language, of literature.”

Her stories have been published in Gumbo: An Anthology of African American Writing, Story Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, among others.  One of Petty’s most recent works, High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing, gathers firsthand accounts of 12 former residents of now-demolished Chicago Housing Authority high-rises. 


About the Contest

The Nick Adams Short Story Contest was established in 1973 with funds from an anonymous donor to encourage fiction writing at ACM colleges.

The contest is open to students currently enrolled at ACM colleges. Students must submit their entries to the English department on their home campus. See the contest guidelines for more information.

A prominent writer serves as the contest's final judge each year and selects the winning story from among the finalists. Nick Adams Contest final judges in past years have included such literary luminaries as Joyce Carol Oates, Maya Angelou, John Updike, Audrey Niffenegger, Stuart Dybek, Anne Tyler, Saul Bellow, and many more. See the complete list of final judges.


Contact Diana Rubi at 312-263-5000 x 5933 or

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