Maureen McCoy, an author and emeritus professor of English and creative writing at Cornell University, has agreed to serve as the final judge for the 2015 Nick Adams Short Story Contest.
Open to any student at an ACM college, the annual competition was established more than 40 years ago to encourage fiction writing on the consortial campuses. The contest offers a first prize of $1,000 to the author of the winning story.
Students submit stories through the English department at their college and a small committee of ACM college faculty chooses six finalist stories. A professional writer serves as the final judge and selects the winning story.
McCoy is the author of the novels Junebug (2004), Divining Blood (1992), Summertime (1987), and Walking After Midnight (1985), as well as short fiction, personal essays, and monologues for actors. Her essay “Vickie’s Pour House: A Soldier’s Peace,” published in the Antioch Review, was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2009.
All four of McCoy’s novels are set in the Midwest — mainly in Iowa and Nebraska, and on the Mississippi River. In reviewing Walking After Midnight for the Los Angeles Times, Julia Cameron noted, “‘Write about what you know’ has long been a useful bit of writer’s lore, and McCoy, nurtured at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, takes it to heart, filling her book with Midwestern bric-a-brac, as poetic and homely as old farm implements, as powerful and as spare.”
Many reviews of McCoy’s work mention the poetic quality of her writing. Karen Rile reviewing Divining Blood for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “McCoy’s voice is distinctly American, though unique… As in her earlier works, the narrative drifts forward in a lyrical current of hypnotic, hyper-realistic imagery that insulates the reader.”
McCoy has received many writing and teaching awards during her career. She was honored with several writing residencies, including The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA; The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH; the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM; and Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers near Edinburgh, Scotland.
She was also named an Albert Schweitzer Fellow in the Humanities at the State University of New York while Toni Morrison was the Schweitzer Chair. She is a recipient of the Copernicus Society’s James A. Michener Award, and while at Cornell University she was the first recipient of the Helen and Robert Appel Fellowship for Humanists and Social Scientists.
A native of Iowa, McCoy received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She splits her time between Taos and Ithaca, NY.
The results of the 2015 Nick Adams Contest will be announced in mid-March. Students should contact the English department at their ACM college for information about submitting stories for the contest.
Final judges in past years
List of contest winners