Above: Previous winners of the Nick Adams prize include (clockwise from top left) Carling McQuinn (2023), Soren Eversoll (2022), Ruby Elliot Zuckerman (2020), and Natalie Marsh (2021).
The Associated Colleges of the Midwest is again soliciting student entries for the annual Nick Adams Short Story Contest, now in its 52nd year. The writer of the winning story will receive a $1,000 prize.
In 2023, “Phantom” by Carling McQuinn, a student at Macalester College, was selected as the winning story by Lan Samantha Chang, award-winning author and director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Previous winners are listed on the ACM website.
How to Enter
To enter, ACM students submit their stories to their campus English department, which can select up to four stories for official entry in the competition. Up to two entries from an ACM college can be by the same student. The stories need not have been written especially for the competition, but they cannot have been previously published off campus or been a finalist in this contest. (Read the full contest guidelines here.)
Each department will submit its entries to ACM by February 9, 2024, and two faculty from ACM member institutions will select finalists. A professional writer serving as the final judge will choose the contest winner in March. Past final judges have included Maya Angelou, Saul Bellow, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Sandra Cisneros, Stuart Dybek, Larry Heinemann, Bharati Mukherjee, Audrey Niffenegger, Joyce Carol Oates, Scott Turow, Anne Tyler, and John Updike.
About the Contest
The Nick Adams Short Story Contest, which has been held annually since 1973, was established through funds from an anonymous donor to support creative writing at ACM colleges. The contest is named for the young hero of many short stories by Ernest Hemingway, a native of Illinois.
For more information or to find out your campus’s submission deadline, please contact the chair of your college English department.