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Indy Smith

Indy Smith April 2, 2024

Winner of the 2024 Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Read the story: Possession

The assured first-person narrator of ‘Possession’ offers us the clear sense of a beloved place – its geography, its beauty, the community that lives there, and the role of the narrator and her family in that community – a world, in other words. Only slowly do we apprehend the tension for the narrator between the opposing pulls of her strong respect for the island’s traditions and her protective love for her daughter, whose very life is threatened by those traditions.

— Final Judge Sue Miller

Indy Smith

More about Indy Smith:

  • Senior at Cornell College
  • Major: English – Creative Writing
  • Hometown: Treasure Island, FL

ACM: Do you have plans after graduation?

Smith: Yes! I’m attending the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University in the fall.

ACM: What sparked your interest in writing, and how did you get started writing fiction?

Smith: Like most writers, I was a nerdy kid. I grew up consuming books like oxygen and fell in love with stories at an early age. In typical fashion, the nerdy kid became a lonely adolescent, and I found company and comfort in my own imagination.

ACM: Are there people (teachers, friends, authors) who have particularly influenced your writing?

Smith: I find meaningful inspiration in music; the heartbeat of this story thrums to songs by Ethel Cain and Florence + The Machine. I am always awed and inspired by Barbara Kingsolver. For this project specifically, I read Shirley Jackson, Lauren Groff (especially her short story collection, Florida), and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

ACM: In addition to fiction, are you interested in any other types of writing?

Smith: I journal almost every day, which is a huge aid in maintaining mental health and provides great low-pressure writing practice.

ACM: Is there anyone you would like to thank?

Smith: My parents, of course, for shaping a childhood full of creative freedom and igniting a passion for art. My friends, especially Meg, Cheyenne, and Anna, who peered into my psyche and reacted as if it was written by Donna Tartt, and who give me the confidence to keep writing. As always, Bobby Kennedy.

ACM: How have you developed your writing while you’ve been at Cornell? 

Smith: Cornell College’s English faculty has been life-changing in more ways than one. Especially Rebecca Entel, Katy Stavreva, Katie Sagal, and Glenn Freeman, who breathe new life into the centuries-old practice of writing and reading and connecting with one another. My writing has developed as I have, and I feel the professors and their classes have made me a better person.

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