Contest Guidelines


  • Any student currently enrolled with good academic standing at an ACM member institution is eligible to enter the Nick Adams Contest.
  • You do not need to be an English major or enrolled in an English course to enter.
  • There is a 10,000 word limit for each story. Stories need not have been written especially for the competition, but they cannot previously have been published off-campus or been selected as a finalist in this contest.

Deadline, Submission & Selection of finalists

  • All entries must be submitted to the English department on the student’s home campus.
  • Each ACM college English department can enter up to four stories from the college in the competition, which is coordinated by the ACM consortial office. No more than two entries may be the work of one student.
  • Stories must arrive at the ACM office no later than February 9, 2024.
  • A small committee of faculty drawn from ACM colleges selects the finalist stories.

Final judge

  • A prominent writer serves as the contest’s final judge each year and selects the winning story from among the finalists. Nick Adams Contest final judges in past years have included such literary luminaries as Joyce Carol Oates, Maya Angelou, John Updike, Audrey Niffenegger, Stuart Dybek, Anne Tyler, Saul Bellow, and many more.
  • The winner of the contest will be chosen by a professional writer in March and will receive the contest prize of $1,000.
  • The prize will be awarded only if the final reader finds a story of sufficient excellence.


Share this page