Three Years in a Row, Knox Student Wins Regional Writing Award

Julia Ohman: active in writing, editing, community service

April 25, 2013

Julia OhmanFor the third time in three years, Knox College student Julia Ohman has been honored as a finalist in the ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Her short story, "The Mangroves," is one of six finalists for 2013, selected from nearly 40 entries submitted by students at 14 private liberal arts colleges in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM).

creative writing major from Portland, Oregon, who was a co-editor of fiction for Catch, Knox's student literary journal, Ohman is only the second college writer to receive three finalist awards in the 40-year history of the competition. The first three-time finalist was also a Knox student, Josh Stevens, a 1995 Knox graduate and now an award-winning book publisher in St. Louis.

Since the Nick Adams Competition was founded, Knox students have won nearly twice as many ACM first prize and finalist awards as students at any other ACM college.

Ohman's story, "When the Leaving is Done" was one of six ACM Finalists last year. And the year before, she was an honorable mention ACM Finalist for "The Zoo," praised by novelist Binnie Kirshenbaum as a "powerful coming-of-age story further enriched by the engaging narrator's grappling with his sexual orientation. The complex settings are vivid and the characters are sympathetic."

Julia Ohman

Julia Ohman reads one of her short stories at the campus party celebrating the release of the most recent issue of Catch, Knox's renowned student journal of writing, literature and the arts.

Each college in the consortium can select up to four stories to submit to the ACM finalist competition. In addition to Ohman's story, the other Knox finalists were "The Ghost of a Flea" by Noah Devros, "Winter Waters" by Evan Feeley, and "A Portland Cliché" by Christopher Poore. The committee of Knox faculty also recognized three stories as Knox semifinalists: "Noises" by Erin Bell, "Surrogate" by Grace Davis, and "Doll House" by Nicole Holtzman.

After graduating from Knox in June, magna cum laude and elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Ohman was selected for the KnoxCorps program, a college-community initiative that places Knox students and graduates at community service agencies and non-profit organizations in the Galesburg area.

"I've started a blog highlighting local businesses and their stories," Ohman reports on her work for the Galesburg-Area Chamber of Commerce. "I revamped the Chamber's Facebook page, a skill that my generation in particular seems to be adept at, whether our homework suffers from it or not. I've learned how to create the newsletters and press releases that keep Chamber members and the community up to date on events and seminars around town. I'm in the process of creating a new website for the Chamber, and have been working on projects to bring younger entrepreneurs to Galesburg."