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Student’s “Fresh, Surprising” Writing Wins Nick Adams Contest Prize

Student’s “Fresh, Surprising” Writing Wins Nick Adams Contest Prize March 29, 2017
Student’s “Fresh

“Four Times Jasper Diallo Didn’t Die (and One Time He Lived),” by Ripon College senior Rachel Stanley, has been selected as the winning story in the 45th annual ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest. The author, a double major in psychology and a self-designed major in disability justice, will receive the contest’s prize of $1,000.

Her story was chosen from among six finalists for the award by Karen Abbott, author of New York Times bestsellers American Rose and Sin in the Second City and this year’s Nick Adams Contest final judge.

In commenting on Stanley’s work, Abbott wrote: “I was immediately taken with the voice: fresh, surprising, and exquisitely raw, with gorgeous, note-perfect imagery that feels wholly organic to the character. A true accomplishment.”

Following her graduation from Ripon in May, Stanley will begin a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Marquette University, where she plans to continue research she has been pursuing as an undergraduate on issues of autism identity and stigma.

She also hopes to embark on writing a series of novels based on the characters and modern fantasy world which appear in “Four Times Jasper Diallo Didn’t Die (and One Time He Lived).”

Honorable mention awarded to Hanna Brown from Beloit

Hanna BrownHanna Brown

Hanna Brown, a sophomore majoring in creative writing and media studies at Beloit College, received an honorable mention from Abbott for “Suburb Roarers.”

In recognizing Brown’s work, Abbott wrote that the story is “By turns strange, disturbing, and laugh-out-loud funny, with a dash of Shirley Jackson. I’m eager to see what this writer does in the future.”

Contest finalists selected by Coe and Grinnell faculty

Forty-three stories were entered in the 2017 Nick Adams Contest. Stories are submitted through the English departments at the ACM colleges, with each college allowed to enter up to four stories in the competition.

Assistant Professor of English Dean Bakopoulos from Grinnell College and Assistant Professor of English Audrey Golden from Coe College served as initial readers, winnowing the field to six finalist stories, which were sent to Abbott for judging.

The 2017 finalists were:

  • “Borders We Can Keep” by Tamara Nassar, Lawrence University
  • “Coming Together Coming Apart” by Josephine Sloyan, Grinnell College
  • “Desiderata” by Emilee Martell, St. Olaf College
  • “Four Times Jasper Diallo Didn’t Die (and One Time He Lived)” by Rachel Stanley, Ripon College – Winning story
  • “Suburb Roarers” by Hanna Brown, Beloit College – Honorable mention
  • “When amidst the Stars” by Randy William Santiago, Cornell College

Students at ACM colleges who are interested in submitting stories for the 2018 contest should contact the English department on their campus.

The annual Nick Adams Short Story Contest was begun in 1973 with the support of an anonymous donor to encourage fiction writing at ACM colleges. Through the years, the contest has drawn a distinguished group of writers as final judges, including in recent years Bill Hillmann, Maureen McCoy, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and Peter Geye.



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