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2018 Contest

Claire Seymour

Claire Seymour

Claire Seymour from Carleton College was named winner of the 46th annual Nick Adams Short Story Contest for her short story, "Maddie, the Whole World; Whole World, Maddie."

Final judge Will Boast, author of award-winning fiction and the New York Times best-selling memoir Epilogue, called Seymour's story "a beautifully executed, moving story about a young woman emerging from depression to re-meet the world and all of the possibilities ahead of her.”

Boast also gave honorable mention recognition to Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan from Macalester College for "Za'atar Croissants."

In selecting the winner, Boast praised all six of the finalist stories in the 2018 contest. "This was a rich, varied, and impressive group of stories, and, in truth, I would've been happy choosing any of them for the winner," he noted. "But, in the end, there was something about "Maddie" that really grabbed and held my attention. It seemed to take me through the most complete character arc, too."


Winner: "Maddie, the Whole World; Whole World, Maddie" by Claire Seymour

In his comments on "Maddie, the Whole World; Whole World, Maddie" Boast wrote:

"[The story] takes a familiar subject — the summer before college, a disintegrating high school relationship — and reinvigorates it with surprising intensity. The emotional tenor of the story is nicely balanced, with the joy Maddie takes in roaming New York City with her best friend undercut by the manipulative, borderline abusive attentions of her boyfriend, whose sadness we also come to understand. Added to this are quick but finely tuned portraits of the parents, sharp passages of description, and wonderfully heard dialogue."

Claire Seymour, whose hometown is Brooklyn, NY, is majoring in English at Carleton with a minor in women's and gender studies. She said that she began writing stories in fifth grade and credits her parents and teachers for supporting her creative writing along the way.


Honorable Mention: "Za'atar Croissants" by Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan

Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan

Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan

A life-long writer, Macalester College senior Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan drew on personal interests that have grown out of her family's history in writing "Za'atar Croissants."

"Much of Beirut's fascinating complexity comes to life in this remarkably vivid, concise vignette of a father and teenage daughter cleaning out a disused family apartment," Will Boast wrote in awarding honorable mention for Fuleihan's story. "A recent history of violence and death is felt strongly, but so is the energy and invention of the city, as epitomized perhaps in the titular croissants. All of this is achieved in about six pages, and I would happily read another sixty."

Looking toward graduation, Fuleihan is pursuing jobs in publishing or other literary-related fields, and hopes to go to graduate school for an MFA in a year or two. 


From left: Nicole Hebel, Hanna Brown, Bethany Catlin, and Josephine Sloyan

Finalists: "A Rich, Varied, and Impressive Group of Stories"

Forty stories were entered in the 2018 Nick Adams Contest through the English departments on ACM campuses, with each college allowed to enter up to four stories in the competition.

Associate Professor of English Rebecca Entel from Cornell College and Assistant Professor of English Peter Bognanni from Macalester College served as initial faculty readers, choosing six finalist stories which were sent to Boast for judging. The finalists were:

Hanna Brown, who was awarded honorable mention last year, and Josephine Sloyan have the distinction of being selected as finalists twice in the Nick Adams Contest.


Final Judge: Will Boast

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.