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Michigan Quarterly Review is an eclectic interdisciplinary journal of arts and culture that seeks to combine the best of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction with outstanding critical essays on literary, cultural, social, and political matters. The flagship literary journal of the University of Michigan, MQR draws on lively minds here and elsewhere, seeking to present accessible work of all varieties for sophisticated readers from within and without the academy.

Readers are mostly expected to read submissions per the outlines below, though there are opportunities to work on administrative and editorial projects in both the online and print issues, depending on the changing needs of the magazine at a given time. Readers have the chance to gain insight into how to run a literary magazine, contribute his/her voice to the online and print editions, and cultivate knowledge of general office procedures. MQR is also dedicated to fostering the specific interests of each Reader, and furthering his/her career in the literary world. Candidates must be current students in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan.

Reading Requirements

  • 100 submissions/month
  • 3 hours/week of reading at the office location in Rackham building (remote reading allowed only with written permission from Managing Editor)
  • Both Poetry and Fiction Readers are required to read at least 10 Essays/Nonfiction and 90 submissions in their own genre


  • Meet required amount of submissions and hours (above) by the end of each calendar month
  • Actively discuss submissions with other readers
  • Attend to administrative tasks as requested by Managing Editor
  • Meet with managing/poetry/fiction editor once per month for approx. 45 minutes to discuss current issue, ongoing projects, deadlines, reading strategies and processes, methods of notation and communication with editors about submissions, questions that arise, etc.
  • Participate in proofreading of MQR’s accepted work, as assigned by Managing Editor and/or Copy Editor
  • Once per calendar month, email the fiction/poetry editor at least one submission you’re especially excited about, and describe why, for a chance for your chosen piece to appear in MQR Online
  • Once per semester, write at least one short essay, book review, blog post, or interview for MQR’s website

Benefits of Working at MQR

  • $500 stipend at the end of the semester, if above requirements and duties are completed in full
  • Full training on Submittable, and what to look for in the “slush pile”
  • Your name on the masthead of at least one issue of MQR (plus 3 free copies of the issue)
  • A reference and/or letter of recommendation from the Managing Editor, upon request
  • Possibility of internship renewal for the following semester
  • A great time! New pals! Occasional treats and snacks!

Interested in applying to be a Reader for MQR?

  • Send an email expressing your interest in MQR and your CV/resume to between August 15 – August 31.
  • You’ll be contacted for an interview in late August/early September.
  • Decisions will be made after all interviews are complete.
  • MQR accepts two fiction interns and two poetry interns from the first-year class each year.

Current Readers

Yasin Abdul-Muqit

Yasin Abdul-Muqit received his MFA from the Helen Zell Writer’s Program at the University of Michigan. In 2017, he was a runner-up in the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest, as well as a recipient of a Hopwood Novel Award. He currently lives in Michigan with his children. He can be found on Instagram @yasizinho.

Elinam Agbo

Elinam Agbo was born in Ghana and moved to the United States when she was ten. She is currently an MFA candidate in fiction in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program and received her BA from the University of Chicago, where she was awarded the 2017 Les River Fellowship for Young Novelists. She is also a winner of the 2018 PEN/Robert Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, and her fiction has appeared in Baltimore Review. You can find her procrastinating on Twitter @evagbo.

Justin Balog

Justin Balog is a writer and arts administrator from Beach Park, IL. He holds a BS in Biology and English/Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. You can find him retweeting other peoples clever and witty tweets on Twitter @aybaebalog, or on Instagram @aybaebalog trying to make his life look more interesting than it actually is.

Samantha Bares

Samantha Bares is an MFA candidate in fiction in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. She reads fiction, poetry, and essays for MQR. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cricket Online Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and NightBlock. She has received the John Ed Bradley Award for Fiction and the Dara Weir Award for Poetry. Her novel-in-progress is a contemporary retelling of Longfellow’s epic poem “Evangeline,” set in her native south Louisiana. You can find her on Twitter @samanthabares and Instagram @samanthabares.

Thea Chacamaty

Thea Chacamaty was born and raised in Los Angeles, but spent the last fourteen years between San Francisco and Oakland, chasing cheap rent and fronting the band Cruel Summer. She is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Thea is writing a multi-generational novel about the California gold rush, the marijuana industry, and French feminist filmmakers. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is.

Augusta Funk is from Montana and Ohio. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Stirring, Tinderbox, and Revolver. Find her on Twitter @cleoroose.

Daniel Neff

Daniel Neff lives in Ann Arbor, where he is an MFA candidate in poetry and teaches with the InsideOut Art Literacy Project in Detroit. His poetry has been published in Ninth LetterZyzzyva, Interrupture, and Whiskey Island, among others, and has won the 2017 Academy of American Poets Prize and The Meader Family Award. Find him on Instagram @elastic_heron.

Erika Nestor

Erika Nestor is an MFA candidate in poetry in the Helen Zell Writer’s Program. She also earned her BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, where she was the recipient of a Hopwood Award and the Roy W. Cowden Fellowship. Pre-MFA, she worked as a technical writer at a medical software company in Wisconsin.

Annesha Sengupta

Annesha Sengupta is a first-year MFA Fiction candidate at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work is published and forthcoming in CatapultTin House The Open Bar, and The Kenyon Review Online. She was a cast member of YKR 2018, a South Asian community storytelling project. Follow her on Twitter @anneshamitha.

Michael M. Weinstein

Michael M. Weinstein’s poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Boston Review, Conjunctions, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. A recipient of grants from the Bread Loaf School of English and the Fulbright Foundation, among others, he holds a Ph.D. in English from Harvard and most recently taught classes in American, British, and Russian literatures at Yale University. He is currently an MFA candidate in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan.

Ashley Whitaker

Ashley Whitaker is a writer from Texas. She received an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program in 2017. Her fiction has appeared in Tin House. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, where she is at work on a novel. Find out more at, or follow her on Twitter @ashtraywhitaker.