Nancy Hightower received a Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from the University of Denver.  She has published short fiction and poetry in journals such as The New York Quarterly, storySouth, Sundog Lit, Gargoyle, A capella Zoo, and Word Riot, and her novel, Elementarí Rising (2013) received a starred review in Library Journal. Currently, she reviews science fiction and fantasy for The Washington Post and is working on a book about digital fictions with Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky).

In October 2015, Port Yonder Press published The Acolyte, her first collection of poetry that rediscovers myth and ritual through a surreal, feminist interpretation of biblical narratives. Kinds of Leaving, her short story collection, was shortlisted for the Flann O’Brien Award for Innovative Fiction in 2014.  She also co-authored the Cute and Creepy exhibition catalogue with Carrie Ann Baade, which was published by Florida State University’s Fine Art Museum in 2011 and was the art columnist for Jeff and Ann VanderMeer’s Weird Fiction Review from 2012-2013.

She is committed to fostering collaborations that explore how multimedia platforms intersect with the humanities and guest lectures at universities about publishing and the state of creative culture. She is available for presentations and speaking engagements. Please use contact form below.


The Acolyte has been nominated for an Elgin Award by the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

“In The Acolyte, Hightower reimagines the lives of biblical figures, particularly women, so that they stand out in unexpected beauty and strangeness. Vivid, uncompromising, and saturated with spiritual longing, these poems offer both a critique of our old readings of the Bible, and a passionate series of new ones.” — Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria

“Hightower’s collection moves elegantly between the mythic and the personal, plumbing her distinctive taste for the surreal and the feminine. It’s spiritual, questioning and provocative, often roaring with a primal urgency.” –Bryan Thao Worra, author of Demonstra

In The Acolyte, Hightower writes with fury and fervor, weaving between a personal, contemporary narrative and ancient voices of the Bible which rise from the page in raw wildness. Her rich phrasing and imagery reclaim women’s stories—Eve, Tamar, Sarah, and Leah’s words and bodies, raw with grief and joy. They find themselves even in the voice of an unnamed woman in Judges, who suffers horrific violence “while the moon bites its way across black clouds.” These poems bring words to the hardest darknesses. Like the sleepers in “Insomnia,” they are “full to the brim/ with nightfall.” Sally Kindred