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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. 

Claire Seymour Named 2018 Nick Adams Contest Winner

Claire Seymour

Claire Seymour

"Maddie, the Whole World; Whole World, Maddie" by Claire Seymour, a sophomore at Carleton College, was the winning story in the 46th annual Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Seymour, an English major from Brooklyn, NY, rose to the top of a field of 40 entries to receive the contest’s $1,000 prize.

Honorable mention recognition went to “Za’atar Croissants” by Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan, a senior at Macalester College who is majoring in English with a focus on creative writing.

2018 finalists also included Hanna Brown (Beloit College), Bethany Catlin (Macalester College), Nicole Hebel (Beloit College), and Josephine Sloyan (Grinnell College).

  • See the 2018 Nick Adams Contest webpage for profiles of the six finalists, comments from the final judge, and links to several of the stories!

Will Boast Served as the 2018 Final Judge

Will Boast

Will Boast

Will Boast, author of award-winning fiction and the New York Times bestselling memoir Epilogue, served as final judge for the 2018 Nick Adams Short Story Contest.

Boast's debut novel, Dapne (2018) was recently released and he received the 2011 Iowa Short Fiction Award for a short story collection, Power Ballads (2011). His fiction, essays, and reporting have appeared online and in print in The New Republic, Granta, and The New York Times Magazine, among numerous other publications.

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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