Home » Students from Knox and St. Olaf Named Co-Winners of the 2014 Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Students from Knox and St. Olaf Named Co-Winners of the 2014 Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Students from Knox and St. Olaf Named Co-Winners of the 2014 Nick Adams Short Story Contest March 25, 2014
Go to ACM Notes

St. Olaf College senior Zoey Slater and Knox College junior Alex Zimay have been named co-winners of the 42nd annual ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest.

Author Bonnie Jo Campbell, who served as the final judge for the 2014 contest, selected “The Fawn” by Slater and “Infinite” by Zimay for the award from among 39 stories submitted by students from ACM colleges. The two winners will split the contest’s $1,000 first prize.

Alex ZimayAlex Zimay, Knox College

2014 Nick Adams Co-Winner

In addition, Campbell gave Honorable Mention recognition to Alexander Boyd (Coe College), Kelly Clare (Knox College), and Elise Erickson (St. Olaf College) for their stories.

Professors Timothy Spurgin from Lawrence University and Ann Pleiss Morris from Ripon College served as initial faculty readers for the contest, choosing six finalists to forward to Campbell for her consideration.

Praising the quality of all six finalist stories, Campbell remarked that she “would have been thrilled to receive stories of this quality from any of my MFA students.”

Campbell is the author of two novels, Once Upon a River (2011) and Q Road (2003) and two short story collections, American Salvage (2009) and Women & Other Animals (1999). She was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2011, has been a finalist for both the National Book Award in fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction, and won a Pushcart Prize in 2001 for her short story “The Smallest Man in the World.”

Zoey SlaterZoey Slater, St. Olaf College

2014 Nick Adams Co-Winner

In making her selections, Campbell specifically commented on the two stories she chose as co-winners.

“The Fawn” by Slater “is built of wonderful material, and I found that its images stuck with me,” Campbell wrote. “[Lisa] works for a taxidermist and has taken up the study and practice of taxidermy as a hobby.… [The author] does a great job of describing and making sense of the northern Wisconsin winter, and we are affected by the gruesome and sterile faces and figures of the animals she stuffs and poses.”

In commenting on Zimay’s story, “Infinite,” Campbell noted that “This author draws the … characters beautifully, shows how they find both comfort and conflict in their relationship. This story is philosophically compelling, rich in detail, artfully structured, and edited perfectly.”

Read Zoey Slater’s story:

The Fawn

Zoey Slater is an English and American Studies major at St. Olaf College, and is also completing a concentration in media studies. After graduation, she will be traveling to Turkey with a St. Olaf archeology research team, and thereafter hopes to start her career in non-profit communications. Slater said she has always loved reading and has been writing off and on since elementary school. She also thanked St. Olaf Writer-in-Residence Ben Percy and his Intermediate Fiction Writing class for pushing her to write her winning story.

A creative writing and political science major at Knox College, Alex Zimay is interested in policy research or the publishing industry after graduation in 2015. She said she has always been passionate about writing and telling stories, and that seeing people enjoy something she has written makes her especially happy. Zimay would like to thank her family, particularly her mother and father who have always encouraged her and challenged her to push herself to do better and go further. “I don’t know where I’d be without my parents and their seemingly endless love and support,” she noted.

2014 Nick Adams Honorable Mention

Alexander BoydAlexander Boyd, Coe College

Kelly ClareKelly Clare, Knox College

Elise EricksonElise Erickson, St. Olaf College

The six finalists for the 2014 Nick Adams Contest were:

  • “Zoo Stories” by Alexander Boyd, a sophomore at Coe College (Honorable Mention) Read the story;
  • “The Now” by Tess Childress, a senior at Beloit College;
  • “What Remains, These” by Kelly Clare, a sophomore at Knox College (Honorable Mention);
  • “Our Lady of the Wilderness” by Elise Erickson, a senior at St. Olaf College (Honorable Mention);
  • “The Fawn” by Zoey Slater, a senior at St. Olaf College (Co-Winner) Read the story; and
  • “Infinite” by Alex Zimay, a junior at Knox College (Co-Winner).

ACM has sponsored the Nick Adams Short Story Contest since 1973, when funds were given for the contest’s first prize by an anonymous donor. The contest is open to current students enrolled at ACM member institutions. Each year, ACM college faculty serve as initial readers and a prominent writer serves as the final judge. The list of final judges includes Audrey Niffenegger, Sara Paretsky, Larry Heinemann, Bharati Mukherjee, Stuart Dybek, and many more.


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