NBCC’s Emerging Critics

by Elizabeth Taylor | Sep-27-2017

Meet the Inaugural Class of NBCC's Emerging Critics

Taylor Brorby is an award-winning essayist, and a poet. Taylor is a fellow at the Black Earth Institute whose work has been supported with residencies and fellowships from Mesa Refuge, Blue Mountain Center, Breadloaf, and the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Taylor's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, North American Review, Orion, Earth Island Journal, among others. He is the author of Crude: Poems, Coming Alive: Action and Civil Disobedience, co-editor of Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America. He travels around the country to speak about the Bakken oil boom and climate change and is at work on both a memoir and an anthology of environmental writing. He is Reviews Editor at Orion Magazine and the Emerging Writing Fellow at Gettysburg College.


Paul Gleason is a PhD candidate in the University of Virginia’s religion department but lives in Los Angeles. Specializing in American religion, politics, and literature, he has published essays and reviews in The Point, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Guardian, and elsewhere. He has written on American civil religion and its critics (like Ta-Nehisi Coates) and American liberal Christianity and its champions (like Marilynne Robinson). When not reading and writing about religion, he likes to watch BBC-style whodunits and listen to country music. You can find examples of his work (and a picture of one of his cats) at www.paulwgleason.com. He teaches Introduction to Religion at California Lutheran University.



Zack Graham’s criticism has appeared in or is forthcoming in Rolling Stone, GQ, Electric Literature, and The National Book Review, among other publications, and his short stories have appeared in Seven Scribes, the Cobalt Review, Liars League NYC, and elsewhere.  A native of Chicago, Zack graduated from Yale University and currently lives in New York, where he makes films in addition to writing fiction and criticism.  He can be found on Twitter and Instagram: @zgraham19.





Yalie Kamara is a Sierra Leonean-American writer and native of Oakland, California. She is the author of When The Living Sing (Ledge Mule Press, 2017) and A Brief Autobiography of My Name (Akashic Books/African Poetry Book Fund) to be included in the 2018 New-Generation African Poets chapbook set. Her poetry, fiction, and translations have been/will be published by Vinyl Poetry and ProsePop-Up MagazinePuerto del Sol and Indiana University Press. She was a 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize finalist and is a Callaloo Fellow. She holds BA degrees in Languages and Creative Writing from UC Riverside and an MA in French from Middlebury College. She is currently an MFA candidate at Indiana University. For more: www.yaylala.com 




Summer McDonald is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She received a BA in English from Purdue University and holds an MA in English from the University of Chicago. Her writing often explores literature, race, sports, and popular culture. Her work has been featured on The Black Youth Project, Specter Literary Magazine, and The Literary Hub. She is an avid NBA fan and overly dedicated fantasy football player. Site: summcd.com | Twitter: @summcd





Ismail Muhammad is a writer and critic based in Oakland, California. Originally from Los Angeles, he studied English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University before returning to California. He's a staff writer at the Millions, a contributing editor at ZYZZYVA, a Ph.D. candidate in the English department at U.C. Berkeley, and an alum of the VONA 2017 workshops. His writing, which focuses on literature, identity, art, and black popular and visual culture, has appeared in publications like Slate, the Los Angeles Review of BooksReal Lifeand Catapult. He's currently working on a novel about the Great Migration and queer archives of black history. Talk to him for any amount of time and you'll probably end up learning more than you ever wanted to know about Los Angeles and/or Drake. He tweets @trapmotives, and is on Instagram @trapmotifs. 



Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a contributing writer for Goodreads, Las Vegas Weekly, and Electric Literature. A classically trained dancer, Heather’s pre-writing life included years of ballet and contemporary dance. She danced as an apprentice to Sacramento Ballet, was a member of CORE Contemporary Dance, and an Associate of Cecchetti USA. Heather holds an MFA in Fiction from UC Riverside. She lives in Elk Grove, California, where she teaches high school English and AVID. Twitter: @HeatherScottP | Facebook: @HeatherScottP | Instagram: @HeatherScottP | Website: hspartington.com

About the Critical Mass Blog

Commentary on literary criticism, publishing, writing, and all things NBCC related. It's written by independent members of the NBCC Board of Directors (see list of bloggers below).


Categories & Archives

Join the NBCC/Renew
Emerging Critics

NBCC Awards

Finalists for 2018

See all award winners

Find out how to submit

Read how we select

Frequently Asked Questions

Videos and Podcasts

NBCC 2018 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2017 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2017 Finalists Reading

All videos and podcasts.