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2006 Contest

Sarah Schillaci named winner of the 2006 ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Press release May 2, 2006

Sarah Schillaci, a senior at Carleton College, has been named the winner of the 34th annual ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Ms. Schillaci's story, "Rolande Quits Her Job," was selected from the 39 stories submitted by students from ACM colleges.

Professors Lisa Hughes of Colorado College and Dawn Abt-Perkins of Lake Forest College served as initial faculty readers for the contest, selecting six finalists from which the final judge made his choice.

Joe Meno, a professor, novelist, and author of several short stories, served as the final judge for the contest this year, which carries with it a first prize of $1,000, made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor.

In commenting on Ms. Schillaci's story, Mr. Meno wrote:

With its intimate, original narrative voice glowing with human warmth and authenticity, this story does what the best stories do, revealing the truths of one particularly rich relationship. The writing here is conversational and wonderfully real, and through it, we got a glimpse into a decisive moment in the main character's life as a high school dropout and shoes salesperson. Full of wit and humor, this story rises to the challenge of great storytelling.

Sarah Schillaci is an English major at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. Her senior thesis, "Morality in the Mess, or Why Cormac McCarthy Isn't Pornography," analyzed the literary use of the human body in three of McCarthy's novels.

Ms. Schillaci began writing at the age of three with her mother. Together they wrote "How George Washington Died" -- their first and, self-admitted, best work. Ms. Schillaci comments, "I would like to thank my parents who think I'm terrific even when I get fired from jobs, Greg Smith for telling me to work more on this story (even though he hated the original ending), and particularly my high school English teacher Meg Schaefer, who first got me to love reading and writing." Ms. Schillaci expects to graduate in June and will likely join the workforce -- hopefully with a better outcome than Rolande.

  • Text of "Rolande Quits Her Job" by Sarah Schillaci. (Note: This story is reprinted with permission. Reproduction of this story without the express, written permission of the author is prohibited.)

In addition to Ms. Schillaci's winning story, an honorable mention was awarded to two stories this year: "The Language of Terrible Things" by Iris G. Garcia of Coe College, and "Nighthawks" by Keith Gray of Grinnell College. Three other stories were selected as finalists by the faculty judges.

Of all six finalists, Mr. Meno noted, "all of the stories were interesting, well-written, and engaging."

2006 Finalists

Iris G. Garcia, Coe College -- "The Language of Terrible Things" (Honorable Mention)
Keith Gray, Grinnell College -- "Nighthawks" (Honorable Mention)
Emilie Hanson, Macalester College -- "Nonfiction Transition."
Sarah Schillaci, Carleton College -- "Rolande Quits Her Job" (Winning Story)
Makendra Silverman, Colorado College -- "Man Poses as CPR Dummy for Women's Training Class"
Shannon Williams, Beloit College -- "The Wax Sculptor"