Author Bill Hillmann will select the prize-winning story in the 2016 Nick Adams Short Story Contest.
The annual competition, which is open to students at ACM colleges and offers a prize of $1,000 for the winning story, is named after the young protagonist of many stories by Ernest Hemingway. Each year a professional writer serves as the contest’s final judge.
Hillmann is the author of two books, including a memoir entitled Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain (2015) and a novel, The Old Neighborhood (2014). In addition to his books, he has contributed to The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Playboy, Salon.com, and National Public Radio (NPR).
The Old Neighborhood was named “Best Novel of 2014” by the Chicago Sun-Times, “Best New Book” by the Chicago Reader, and received critical acclaim from Booklist and The Week.
A Chicago native, Hillmann was a city Golden Gloves champion in 2002. He set his novel where he grew up on the city’s North Side. In a review of the book for the Chicago Tribune, Dmitry Samarov wrote:
“One of the strengths of The Old Neighborhood is the vivid and precise way Hillmann describes the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago…. [A]nyone who has spent any time in that part of town will recognize the signposts that dot these pages, setting it in a particular place rather than the generic inner city that’s a setting to so many gang and drug dramas…. By writing about the streets and the people he knows by heart, Hillman shows the contrary and complex forces at work in this city.”
Inspired by Earnest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Hillmann has been running with the bulls in Spain for over a decade. In 2014, he made worldwide headlines when he was gored by a bull in Pamplona. He has since provided commentary on bull-running for the Today show, CBS This Morning, and Fox News Atlanta. In addition to his memoir, he wrote a chapter of Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona, an ebook by Alexander Fiske-Harrison.
A noted storyteller, Hillmann is founder of the Windy City Story Slam and has appeared on NPR’s Snap Judgment and shows internationally.
Hillmann attended College of DuPage and later earned a bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College and an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. He lives in Chicago with his wife and works as a union construction laborer.
As final judge for the contest, Hillmann joins an illustrious group of writers who have served in past years, including Audrey Niffenegger, Stuart Dybeck, Sara Paretsky, Maya Angelou, John Updike, and many more.
Now in its 44th year, the Nick Adams Short Story Contest was established in 1973 with funds from an anonymous donor to encourage fiction writing at ACM colleges. Students submit stories for the competition to the English departments on their college campuses. The results of the 2016 competition will be announced in mid-March.