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Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Each year, ACM sponsors the Nick Adams Short Story Contest. The contest, named for the young protagonist of many Hemingway stories, was established in 1973 with funds from an anonymous donor to encourage fiction writers at ACM colleges. A first prize of $1,000 is awarded to the author of the winning story.

2017 Nick Adams Contest

Rachel Stanley

Rachel Stanley

"Four Times Jasper Diallo Didn't Die (and One Time He Lived)," by Ripon College senior Rachel Stanley, was named winning story in the 45th annual ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest.

Honorable mention recognition went to "Suburb Roarers" by Hanna Brown, a sophomore at Beloit College.

Read more about the 2017 Nick Adams Contest, plus a link to the honorable mention story!

Final Judge for the 2017 Contest

Karen Abbott

Karen Abbott

Karen Abbott, author of New York Times bestsellers American Rose and Sin in the Second City served as final judge of the 2017 Nick Adams Short Story Contest and selected the winning and honorable mention stories.

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.

About the Contest


Any student currently enrolled with good academic standing at an ACM college is eligible to enter the Nick Adams Contest. All entries must be submitted to the English department on the student’s home campus. You do not need to be an English major or enrolled in an English course to enter.

There is a 10,000 word limit for each story. Stories need not have been written especially for the competition, but they cannot previously have been published off-campus or been selected as a finalist in this contest.

See the complete list of winning authors and stories.

Selection of finalists

Each ACM college English department can enter up to four stories from the college in the competition, which is coordinated by the ACM consortial office. A small committee of faculty drawn from ACM colleges selects the finalist stories.

Final judge

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.