Nancy Hightower is an award winning author, editor, and college teacher. She has published short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in journals such as Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Heavy Feather Review, storySouth, Sundog Lit, Entropy, Gargoyle, Prick of the Spindle, and Word Riot. Her novel, Elementarí Rising (2013) received a starred review in Library Journal and was chosen as Debut of the Month. 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 has guest curated readings for HIP Lit, St. Peter’s Chelsea, and the Hi-Fi Reading Series, bringing in writers such as Carmen Machado, Alice Kim, Brendan Kiely, David Burr Gerard, and Mensah Demary. From 2014-2016 she was the science fiction and fantasy reviewer for The Washington Post and for much of 2016 was cohost for the live literary journal Liars’ League NYC with Andrew Lloyd Jones. Currently, she is working on a book about digital fictions with Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) as well as a memoir about growing up in the evangelical South, and is on the board of directors for Epiphany Magazine.
“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…These poems bring words to the hardest darknesses. Like the sleepers in ‘Insomnia,’ they are full to the brim/ with nightfall. –Sally Rosen Kindred, author of Book of Astors
Cute and Creepy Exhibition Catalogue
Nancy Hightower’s companion essay “Revelatory Monsters: Deconstructive Hybrids, the Grotesque and Pop Surrealism” is an examination of humanity’s obsession with that which terrifies/pleasures “the monster” and that which repels/intrigues “the grotesques” and how this duality is at the very core of humanity. Ms. Hightower’s essay is also a guiding narrative to select exhibition pieces and takes the reader on a tour of the many aspects of pop surrealism and what it has become today. Her lush descriptions and scholarly references bring validity to an art style that in the past been criticized as being kitschy and or lowbrow.” Gabrielle Reed, Art Libraries Society of North America.
“Reading Elementari Rising, one feels immersed in an alternate world that truly exists, that has only been waiting for readers to discover it, much in the manner of Middle Earth or Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea. Hightower’s prose, never faltering from its poetic register even in the narrative’s most mundane moments, contributes to this immutable sense of otherworldly reality.We are aware at every moment that this not a story about the petty squabbles of people, but of something much larger and crueler.” Ilana Teitelbaum, Huffington Post
“Hightower’s debut mixes elements of classic epic fantasy with ecological ideas. Interesting characters and an unusual world of deathless trees and common folk who are more than they seem make this a winner for fans of epic fantasy.” Library Journal. Debut of the Month, Starred Review, 10/15/13