Emerging Critics

NBCC Emerging Critics Class of 2019

Learn more about the Emerging Critics program.

  • Jewell Anderson

    Jewell Anderson is an activist, librarian, and writer based in Savannah, Georgia. Originally from a small town in northern Michigan, Jewell got her BS in English Literature from Eastern Michigan University and after moving south (bye winter!), her MLIS from the University of South Carolina. Her work in libraries both archival and scholarly segued into reviewing books for Library Journal; intellectual and critical development has been a commensurate process. She is currently working on wrapping up the academic year at the independent, K-12 school campus she works, as well as restoring an historic home, with friends, in Savannah.

  • Diego Báez

    Diego Báez is the recipient of fellowships from the Surge Institute and CantoMundo, and has completed a residency at Sundress Academy for the Arts in the hilly outskirts of Knoxville, Tennessee. He writes regularly for Booklist magazine, and his poetry, fiction, and book reviews have appeared at The Rumpus, The Acentos Review, and The Georgia Review, among others. He is a coordinator for the Diversity Committee of the International David Foster Wallace Society, for which he curated Spotify playlists based on the bibliographies in Signifying Rappers. He lives in Chicago and teaches at Harry S Truman College. Find him online @diego_baez

  • Miranda Cooper

    Miranda Cooper is a New York-based writer, editor, and literary translator. Her literary and cultural criticism has been published by several outlets including Tablet Magazine, the JTAJewish Currents, the Jewish Book Council, the Yiddish Book Center, Hey Alma, and the Jewish Women’s Archive. Her Yiddish poetry translations have appeared in Pakn Treger, in a print anthology published by the Yiddish Book Center, and in Jewish Currents. She currently serves as an editor of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies and is a 2019-2020 Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow.

  • Emma Hager

    Emma Hager is a writer and critic based in the Bay Area. A lifelong Californian, she graduated from Berkeley in 2018 with a BA in English. Her writing, which covers topics like the politics of fashion and contemporary fiction, has appeared in The Nation, ELLE, The Millions, and elsewhere. Twitter: @emma__hager

  • Essence London

    Essence London recently graduated from the Indiana University MFA program and is working on a hybrid manuscript titled Blissville. She’s edited for Indiana Review and Oxford American, volunteered for The Field Office Agency, and is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow. Currently, she writes for the Black Film Center/Archive and is designing a chapbook series with Q Avenue Press. Find her at www.blissvillian.net or on Twitter @blissvillian.

  • Tara Wanda Merrigan

    Tara Wanda Merrigan is a Philadelphia-based essayist. Her reportage and cultural criticism has appeared online at The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Hyperallergic, Literary Hub, The Millions, etc. Much of Tara’s work, like her essay on an undocumented American poet’s debut collection, explores the intersection of poetry and politics. Prior to moving to Philadelphia and joining Penn Press, Tara worked at media outlets and at a financial technology company in New York. She received her B.A. in the History and Literature of America from Harvard in 2013. You can find her online at: tarawandamerrigan.com

  • Claire Mullen

    Claire Mullen is a writer, audio producer, and emerging translator. Her writing on books and literature has been published by Lithub, Public Books, New Life Quarterly, and KQED Arts. She lives in Mexico City.

  • Leah Silvieus

    Leah Silvieus is the author of the poetry collections Arabilis (Sundress Publications), Season of Dares (Bull City Press) and Anemochory (Hyacinth Girl Press) as well as the co-editor with Lee Herrick of The World I Leave You: An Anthology of Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit (forthcoming from Orison Books). She is a Kundiman fellow and currently serves as Books Editor at Hyphen magazine. Her criticism has also appeared or is forthcoming in Harvard Review and The Believer. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Miami and is currently an M.A. in Religion candidate at Yale University.

  • Laura Villareal

    Laura Villareal earned her MFA from Rutgers University-Newark. She is a recipient of the 2018 Key West Literary Seminar Teacher and Librarian Scholarship, The Highlights Foundation’s 2018 Laurie Halse Anderson Scholarship and Poetry at Round Top’s 2019 Norma Pascusz Fellowship. Her first chapbook The Cartography of Sleep came out in 2018 with Nostrovia! Press. Her writing can be found in Black Warrior ReviewVinyl, Waxwing, and elsewhere.

  • Rochelle Spencer

    Rochelle is author of AfroSurrealism: The African Diaspora’s Surrealist Fiction (Routledge, 2019), co-editor, with Jina Ortiz, of All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2014), and author of Guardian Angels (Nomadic Press, 2019). She is a former board member with the Hurston Wright Foundation and co-curator, with the AfroSurreal Writers, of the Let’s Play exhibition and the NEA-funded Digital Literature Garden. (Photo by Sakae Manning)

  • Blue Tarpalachee

    Blue Tarpalechee is Mvskoke (Creek) from Okmulgee, Oklahoma. He is a proud husband and father to two rowdy boys. He is a Coca-Cola First Generations Scholar and a Sundance Native Writers Lab Fellow. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2019 and will pursue his PhD studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he’ll be studying Native American Literature.