“Maddie, the Whole World; Whole World, Maddie” by Claire Seymour, a sophomore at Carleton College, has been selected as the winning story in the 2018 Nick Adams Short Story Contest sponsored by the ACM. Seymour, who is an English major from Brooklyn, NY, will receive the contest’s $1,000 prize.
The contest’s final judge Will Boast, author of award-winning fiction and the New York Times best-selling memoir Epilogue, wrote that Seymour’s story “takes a familiar subject — the summer before college, a disintegrating high school relationship — and reinvigorates it with surprising intensity…. On the whole, a beautifully executed, moving story about a young woman emerging from depression to re-meet the world and all of the possibilities ahead of her.”
Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan, Macalester College, was awarded honorable mention.
In addition, Boast awarded honorable mention for “Za’atar Croissants” by Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan, a senior at Macalester College who is majoring in English with a focus on creative writing. Calling the story “a very close runner-up,” Boast wrote: “Much of Beirut’s fascinating complexity comes to life in this remarkably vivid, concise vignette of a father and teenage daughter cleaning out a disused family apartment.”
“The Nick Adams Contest is an opportunity for students at ACM colleges to achieve recognition for their writing talent and is an example of how liberal arts education prepares students to write, think, and create,” said ACM President Sonya Malunda. “The contest also showcases the quality of creative writing programs across the consortium, as students from eight ACM colleges have been Nick Adams Contest winners or honorable mentions in the last four years.”
Named after the young protagonist of many Hemingway stories, the Nick Adams Short Story Contest was begun by ACM in 1973 with support from an anonymous donor to encourage fiction writing by students at ACM colleges. Through the years, distinguished writers have served as final judges for the contest. Recent judges include Karen Abbott, Bill Hillmann, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Alex Kotlowitz, and Audrey Niffenegger.
Will Boast served as final judge for the 2018 Nick Adams Contest.
For Boast, this is a return engagement with the contest, though in a different role. When he was a student at Knox College, Boast was awarded honorable mention in the Nick Adams Contest, a recognition he called a “milestone” in his development as a writer.
Forty stories were entered in the 2018 Nick Adams Contest through the English departments on ACM campuses, with each college allowed to enter up to four stories in the competition.
Associate Professor of English Rebecca Entel from Cornell College and Assistant Professor of English Peter Bognanni from Macalester College served as initial faculty readers, choosing six finalist stories which were sent to Boast for judging.
“This was a rich, varied, and impressive group of stories,” Boast noted, “and, in truth, I would’ve been happy choosing any of them for the winner.”
Along with the stories by Seymour and Fuleihan, the finalists included:
- “S/s” by Hanna Brown, Beloit College
- “American Daughter” by Bethany Catlin, Macalester College
- “During the Rain” by Nicole Hebel, Beloit College
- “Object Lessons” by Josephine Sloyan, Grinnell College
Brown, who was awarded honorable mention last year, and Sloyan have the distinction of being selected as finalists twice in the Nick Adams Contest.
Visit the Nick Adams Short Story Contest webpage for information about each of the finalists, their comments about writing, and links to several of the stories.