Artist Spotlight: Callie Bates

Lawrence University sophomore Callie Bates was recently named the winner of the 2007 Nick Adams Short Story Contest, sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. The contest involved all of the 14 private liberal arts colleges that are members of the ACM, spanning Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado and Illinois.
Bates, an English major from Manitowish, Wis., was shocked to win the contest. “I did not expect to win it by any means,” she said.
Bates wrote her winning story “The Swans at Roxleigh” about a young woman who goes to the north of England at the end of World War II. “She’s running from certain things in her past, about loss, and death,” said Bates.
“People tell me it’s reminiscent of ‘Gosford Park’ and those traditional English society kind of stories, but I don’t know for sure what inspired it,” she said. The story is available for perusal at the ACM website.
Bates’ story was chosen out of 45 entries for the award, for which she also received a first-place prize of $1,000.
Bates has more plans for her award-winning short story. “I’m thinking of expanding the short story I wrote for the ACM and turning it into a novella,” she said, “and then [taking] something I just wrote, which also takes place at the end of World War II, and turning them into like a dual novella, or a novel sort of thing.”
Bates says she is “very much influenced by the modernist writers,” listing influences such as Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, as well as more modern writers.
For Bates, the love for writing goes back all the way to age 10. “One time when I was 10 years old, I was watching TV and a commercial came on for Count Chocula cereal,” she said. “I decided I wanted to write a novel about a haunted house, and that was it.” Sadly, the novel did not get finished, but the experience did lead to more writing.
After graduating from Lawrence in a couple of years, Bates hopes to publish. “Publishing a novel would be pretty cool,” she said.