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The Hilton Kramer Fellowship

The Hilton Kramer Fellowship, introduced five years ago as a way to bring bright young writers and editors to The New Criterion, has been a boon to our staff. The current fellow is Andrew Shea, who recently graduated from Dartmouth with a double major in English and Studio Art. The previous fellow, Mene O. Ukueberuwa, is now Assistant Editor at City Journal. Our third fellow, Benjamin Riley, has rejoined the staff as an Assistant Editor, after completing his MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, while the second fellow, Christine Emba, now edits a column for The Washington Post. Its inaugural recipient, Eric C. Simpson, is now an Associate Editor

The Hilton Kramer Fellowship has been an enormous success in replenishing the ranks of young conservative writers, and it has been funded entirely through your contributions. The New Criterion could never have survived this long without the visionary support of its friends. Thank you for helping to make the first thirty-five years of The New Criterion possible. We hope you will join us in securing the next thirty-five.

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The current and past Hilton Kramer fellows discuss The New Criterion’s Hilton Kramer Fellowship with Executive Editor James Panero in a podcast embedded below.

Meet the current and previous Hilton Kramer fellows


Hannah Niemeier

Hannah Niemeier, the sixth Hilton Kramer Fellow, graduated in 2018 from Hillsdale College, where she studied English and journalism. She was the Culture editor of the campus newspaper and editor of the campus literary journal, as well as the co-president of the college’s honors program and the director of the writing center. She previously interned at the Orange County Register and Humanities magazine.

About her time in New York and at The New Criterion, Hannah says,

“Coming from a small town in Nebraska with a population of thirty-five, working at a magazine in a big city is the perfect combination: I get to explore a new part of the world and see firsthand the way The New Criterion reads, writes, and edits fine cultural criticism about it.”


Andrew L. Shea

Andrew joined The New Criterion after graduating from Dartmouth College this past June with a B.A. in English and Studio Art. At Dartmouth, he played double bass in The Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble and completed an honors thesis in oil painting. In his English major, he concentrated on literature of the American wilderness and frontier, and counts Faulkner, Thoreau, and Joyce among his favorite writers. At The New Criterion, Andrew hopes to write extensively on painting—both contemporary and historical—and hone his critical and journalistic voice.

“As a writer and painter, the opportunity to fully enmesh myself in New York’s cultural scene—and to do so as part of my job right out of college—has been extraordinary. The wooded campus of Dartmouth was a wonderful setting in which to develop my painting practice and critical thinking skills, but working for The New Criterion in New York as Hilton Kramer Fellow has enabled me to see in person the art I had heretofore seen only in reproduction, and to submit my writing for the first time to the forum of ideas that is the public sphere. Learning journalistic writing at a magazine so singularly committed to precision and clarity has been a truly edifying experience, one made even more fruitful by The New Criterion’s focus on the cultural and artistic subjects about which I am most passionate. In short, the fellowship has been fantastic so far, and I greatly look forward to my remaining months at The New Criterion.”


Mene Ukueberuwa

Mene Ukueberuwa joined The New Criterion as the fourth Hilton Kramer Fellow in June 2016. Prior to that he served as Editor of The Dartmouth Review. Following his time at The New Criterion, Mene was a Bartley Fellow at the Wall Street Journal. He is currently an assistant editor at City Journal.

“When I served as an editorial intern at The New Criterion in 2012, I’d had only hints of exposure to high culture. My weeks at The New Criterion were invaluably enriching. In that short time I developed the context to appreciate the best of our culture. When I returned to the magazine for the Fellowship last year, those seedlings of understanding planted four years earlier started to bear fruit. Having continued to cultivate a taste for the art and ideas discussed in the magazine, I found myself able to approach these topics with judgment in addition to appreciation—a disposition that is rare in the contemporary world. Today’s entire intellectual climate tends to stifle rather than strengthen our willingness to discriminate—that is, to recognize what’s good and what’s bad, and then utter our opinions out loud. Thankfully, The New Criterion remains up to the task of educating us in this most human of tasks. I’m sincerely grateful for my time at TNC, which not only improved my critical faculties, but also prepared me to exercise them as I continue my career.”


Benjamin Riley

Benjamin Riley, the third Hilton Kramer Fellow, is now an Assistant Editor of The New Criterion. After a successful Fellowship year at the magazine he decamped for the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, to pursue his M.A. in the History of Art, writing his dissertation on the masonry bridges of the Scottish architect Robert Adam (1728–1792). At The New Criterion he has written widely on architecture and art in general, with a specific focus on the eighteenth century. Prior to joining The New Criterion, Ben graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013, where he served as President and Publisher of The Dartmouth Review. His undergraduate thesis in Art History examined Robert Adam’s role in the construction of Edinburgh’s New Town.

“My time at TNC was not only highly enjoyable—the chance to be surrounded by fine minds discussing fine ideas is thrilling for someone of my disposition—but also exceptionally fruitful. I was given the chance to refine my authorial voice and learn the critical art of editing, skills not easily acquired otherwise. To return to the magazine after a year away has only made me more appreciative of how special the Hilton Kramer Fellowship is.”


Christine Emba

Christine Emba served as our second Hilton Kramer Fellow. For her undergraduate studies, Christine earned an A.B. in public and international affairs from Princeton University. After graduating, she worked for two years as a strategy analyst at SAP before beginning a career in editorial journalism. Christine served as a deputy editor at The Economist’s Intelligence Unit for two more years, and then accepted the Hilton Kramer Fellowship in 2014. While with us at The New Criterion, Christine contributed to In The Arena, a weekly radio and television talk show series that explores Catholic news stories and issues. After her year at The New Criterion, Christine moved on to The Washington Post, where she currently contributes to the Opinion section and serves as the editor of In Theory, the Post’s idea blog.

“The Hilton Kramer Fellowship was a delightful foray into the world of culture and the hands-on work of its preservation. My time at The New Criterion was formative, and the range of experience the fellowship allowed—editing, writing, and interacting with some of criticism’s brightest minds—will influence my own journalism for years to come.”


Eric C. Simpson

Eric C. Simpson joined The New Criterion as the inaugural Hilton Kramer Fellow in 2013. An accomplished violinist who has studied music since age four, Eric has become an established music critic in New York, appearing in the Wall Street Journal and the Hopkins Review and contributing regularly to The New York Classical Review. Now in his fifth year with the magazine, Eric remains on the masthead as an Associate Editor. Prior to joining The New Criterion, he earned a B.A. in Classics from Yale College, specializing in histories of ancient Greece and the Roman Republic, and working closely with the eminent scholar and New Criterion contributor Donald Kagan.

“When I came to The New Criterion, first as an intern, and then as Hilton Kramer Fellow, I had little inkling of what it really meant to be a cultural critic. Music had been the greatest passion of my life for as long as I could remember, but approaching it from the angle of a discerning and opinionated observer, rather than a performer, was a new and refreshing experience. The Hilton Kramer Fellowship gave me a home base, a chance to work closely with some of the finest writers and editors in the cultural arena, and an opportunity to build a meaningful career as an arts critic. Reading and editing articles for The New Criterion was and is an education in itself—I am enormously grateful for the opportunity the Hilton Kramer Fellowship gave me, and I am thrilled to see that it continues to thrive.”

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