Lawrence University’s Callie Bates Wins ACM Short Story Writing Contest

APPLETON, WIS. — Lawrence University sophomore Callie Bates has been named the winner of the 2007 Nick Adams Short Story Contest sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, a 14-member consortium of private liberal arts colleges in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado.

Bates’ winning entry, “The Swans at Roxleigh,” a tale of a declining English country house in the days just after World War II, was selected from among 45 stories submitted by ACM students for the 35th edition of the annual contest. Bates, an English major from Mercer, received a first-place prize of $1,000. Lawrence senior Steve Ringman, Park Forest, Ill., joined Bates as one of the contest’s six finalists for his story “Next Exit.”

“Each ACM campus submitted several stories for this year’s contest, so to have two students from Lawrence make it into the top six is a major accomplishment and says a lot about the level of creative writing going on here,” said David McGlynn, Lawrence assistant professor of English, one of two ACM faculty members to serve as initial readers for the contest. “To have one of our students win the competition means that at least one bright literary star is starting to shine.”

Antonya Nelson, an award-winning novelist and author of five short-story collections, served as the judge of the contest’s six finalists. She called Bates’ story “a lovely meditation on loss and lostness.”

“It places the reader so thoroughly in another place, another time, with such authority,” Nelson commented. “The story reminds the reader that people have endured suffering, caused suffering and survived it for as long as time itself. I felt both transported by and utterly invested in this wonderful piece.”

Bates says she has been “making up stories” for as long as she can remember. She didn’t start writing them down until the summer she turned 10, but has been doing so ever since. She hopes to travel more in the next few years and hopes to visit the place where “The Swans at Roxleigh” was set.

The Nick Adams Short Story Contest, named for the young hero of many Hemingway stories, was established in 1973 with funds from an anonymous donor to encourage young writers.