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Jean Thompson

Jean Thompson Serves as the 2003 Final Judge

Press release November 21, 2002

Jean Thompson has agreed to serve as the professional judge for the 2003 Nick Adams Short Story Contest. She is the author of three novels, Wide Blue Yonder, The Woman Driver, and My Wisdom, and three short story collections, Who Do You Love, Little Face and Other Stories, and The Gasoline Wars.

Jean Thompson

Photo by Marion Ettlinger

Thompson's most recent short story collection, Who Do You Love, was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award. Newsweek describes the collection as "a beautiful book, but a hell of a sad one ... The best stories here are so sympathetic and true that they glow a little."

In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, Thompson expresses a fondness for the form of short stories, making her an ideal judge for the contest. She comments, "I started out with short stories ... I loved the form. It's like trying to fit everything into one kind of box, all the things that you need for a piece of fiction."

Thompson is widely acclaimed for her powerful characters and witty prose. Kirkus Reviews writes, "Thompson's unpretentious clarity pays off most rewardingly in stories that expose their characters gradually to the unforeseen consequences of their actions." Katherine Dieckmann in The New York Times Book Review also praises Thompson: "[She] impresses as an astute observer of cloaked feelings and stalled dreams...."

Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Story, Mademoiselle, fiction international, Ontario Review, Ploughshares, Best American Short Stories, and the Pushcart Prizes. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Jean Thompson teaches in the English Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Urbana. She has taught creative writing at the University since 1973.