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Clare Boerigter Named Winner of 2012 ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Published: March 23, 2012

Clare Boerigter, a sophomore at Grinnell College, has been named the winner of the 40th annual ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Boerigter's story "Gusanos" was selected to receive the $1,000 first prize by Gina Frangello, the Chicago-based novelist, editor, and professor who served as the final judge for the contest this year.

Clare Boerigter

Clare Boerigter, winner of the 2012 Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Forty stories were submitted by students from ACM colleges for the 2012 Nick Adams Contest. Professors Sören Steding from Luther College and Craig Watson from Monmouth College served as initial faculty readers, selecting the six finalists from which Frangello made her choice.

In commenting on Boerigter's story, Frangello wrote that "Gusanos" is:

A story that strongly evokes both beauty and brutality in its landscape, it is at once spiritual and skeptical, sensual but pragmatic.... The (somewhat enigmatic) narrator manages to achieve an intense humanity while also remaining slightly on the periphery of her own story, a "recorder" of events like her own camera's lens. The story's ending feels harrowing and earned.

Read the story!

"Gusanos"

by Clare Boerigter

A Spanish major, Boerigter is involved on the Grinnell campus in the Student Environmental Committee, the Meskwaki Native American Ni Ka Na Buddy Program, and The Grinnell Review Writing Committee. Next semester, she will participate in a study abroad program in Costa Rica, where she will volunteer at a remote ecolodge and preserve. With her interest in the environment and writing, Boerigter plans to pursue writing after graduation and said she would love to work for a magazine like Sierra or Outside while still pursuing creative fiction.

In commenting on the award, Boerigter acknowledged her thanks to Assistant Professor of English Dean Bakopoulos for his "encouragement and help during the writing and editing of 'Gusanos'" and to Neil Weintraub for awarding her an internship in the Kaibab National Forest, where, she wrote, "I was able to experience Hopi Native American traditions, a large inspiration for my piece."

"Gusanos" is available on the ACM website and will be posted in the online literary collective The Nervous Breakdown. On April 13, Boerigter will be recognized at the ACM Student Symposium on Off-Campus Study in Chicago, along with students who have received ACM awards in 2011-12 for research projects and photography.

Boerigter's story was one of six stories selected as finalists by the faculty judges. The other stories were:

  • "Fishes and Loaves" by Kate Barrett, Knox College;
  • "The March Up Swiftcreek Hill" by Tana Goar, Beloit College;
  • "Where the Miles Lead" by Andrew Kim, Lawrence University;
  • "When the Leaving is Done" by Julia Ohman, Knox College; and
  • "Camphor" by Nina Slesinger, Macalester College.

Final judge of the 2012 contest: Gina Frangello

Gina Frangello

Gina Frangello

In serving as the final judge, Gina Frangello has joined a long list of prominent writers who have selected winning stories for the Nick Adams Contest. She is the author of two novels, A Life in Men (forthcoming in 2013) and My Sister's Continent (2006), and the short story collection Slut Lullabies (2010).

In addition to writing, Frangello is a longtime editor of the literary magazine Other Voices, the fiction editor of the online literary collective The Nervous Breakdown, and the Sunday Editor at The Rumpus. She guest-edited the anthology Falling Backwards: Stories of Fathers and Daughters (2004) and co-founded Other Voices Books in 2005. The recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Individual Fellowship for Prose and an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award, Frangello teaches writing in Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern University.

Designed to encourage fiction writers on ACM campuses, the Nick Adams Short Story Contest was established in 1973 with funds by an anonymous donor. The contest is named after the young protagonist of many short stories by Ernest Hemingway.

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