Winner of the 2018 Nick Adams Short Story Contest
Story: Maddie, the Whole World; Whole World, Maddie
“It takes a familiar subject — the summer before college, a disintegrating high school relationship — and reinvigorates it with surprising intensity. The emotional tenor of the story is nicely balanced, with the joy Maddie takes in roaming New York City with her best friend undercut by the manipulative, borderline abusive attentions of her boyfriend, whose sadness we also come to understand. Added to this are quick but finely tuned portraits of the parents, sharp passages of description, and wonderfully heard dialogue. 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.”
– Final judge Will Boast
More about Claire Seymour:
- Sophomore at Carleton College
- Major: English
- Minor: Women’s and Gender Studies
- Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Q. What sparked your interest in writing, and how did you get started writing fiction?
I’ve always loved reading fiction, especially fantasy when I was younger, and this made me want to write my own stories starting in about fifth grade. My parents are both really good writers, and my dad majored in English, so they were always really supportive of my creative writing. Creative writing courses at Carleton have also made me much more diligent and hard working about writing poetry and fiction.
Q. Are there people (teachers, friends, authors) who have particularly influenced your writing?
I love short stories by Jennifer Egan and Junot Diaz, and poetry by Frank O’Hara and Ocean Vuong. I was inspired to write this particular short story after reading the story “La Vita Nuova” by Allegra Goodman. In high school I did a creative writing independent study for three years once a week with my English teacher Eric Weisberg, who really helped shape and improve my writing.
Q. In addition to fiction, are there other types of writing you are particularly interested in?
I also love writing poetry, and have taken Poetry Workshop, and am currently enrolled in Advanced Poetry Workshop at Carleton. I’m also really interested in writing personal essays.
Q. Is there anyone you would like to thank?
I would like to thank a Carleton English professor Greg Hewett. He has taught me three creative writing courses now, and is incredibly supportive and has given me so much guidance with writing. He also taught the Intro to Creative Writing class that I wrote this short story for. I would also like to thank two of my high school English teachers, who I’m still in touch with today, Eric Weisberg and Celeste Tramontin, who have been so influential and encouraging.