Honorable Mention in the 2019 Nick Adams Short Story Contest
Story: Ad Space
“‘Ad Space’ is a story of considerable power and precision. Bodies matter in this narrative: a day in the life of young Baxter as he works, shoulder-to-shoulder, with the summer crew at Cordova’s, a hamburger joint with an insistently 1950s decor. Baxter’s body matters the most in ‘Ad Space.’ Returned from college and at Cordova’s for his sixth summer, Baxter works double shifts with heels and toes that are permanently swollen. Baxter stands at 6’3”. As narrator, he describes his immense arm span, which uniquely qualifies him to be ‘stuck out on the curb, at the intersection, with the sign’ for Cordova’s stretched out as advertisement. As he sees it, it’s the uniform that renders him invisible ‘like a clothes hanger or an easel.’ Baxter’s fantasy life, his fears, and his longings reveal themselves in fits and starts, and these revelations spark the suspense that propels ‘Ad Space’ and brings it an echoing conclusion.”
– Final judge Audrey Petty
More about Hanna Brown:
- Senior at Beloit College
- Major: Creative Writing
- Minor: Political Science
- Hometown: Elgin, IL
ACM: What sparked your interest in writing, and how did you get started writing fiction?
Brown: My interest in writing comes of reading a lot, having access to the time/space necessary to write, and being, like, pathologically nervous. Usual suspects, I think.
A few weeks ago, my mom unearthed this story I wrote—age six, maybe. The story’s about talking dogs, mostly, but I think it speaks to some universal themes, for example, wanting to eat breakfast and wanting to go to the pool. Who’s doing that new Cats movie?? Tom Hooper. Mister Hooper, I’m as yet uncommitted after graduation, and I have a script for you.
ACM: How have you developed your writing while you’ve been at Beloit?
Brown: I’ve helped edit our lit mag, the Beloit Fiction Journal, for the past few years, which means I’ve gotten the chance to read hundreds of story submissions. It’s inspiring/instructional to see what other people are working on. Super grateful for the opportunity. Many thanks to Chris Fink, Chuck Lewis, and the Beloit College English Department.