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Assistant Editors & Readers

Assistant Editors 

Elinam Agbo holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MFA from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where she is currently a Zell fellow. A winner of the 2018 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Award for Emerging Writers, she was a 2019 Aspen Words Fellow and attended the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. She received the honorable mention prize for fiction in the 2019 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. She was born in Ghana and grew up in Kansas.  You can find an interview with Nana Kwame, a “Why I Chose It,” and a review from Elinam at MQR Online. You can read Elinam’s issue of MQR: Mixtape here.


Eirill Falck is a writer from Oslo, Norway. She reads fiction and nonfiction submissions for MQR. Her nonfiction and poetry have appeared in US-based literary magazines and in a Norwegian anthology. She is the recipient of the John Wagner Prize and the Hopwood Award. You can find her on Twitter as @EirillFalck. You can find her interview with Ola Jostein Jørgensen in MQR Online and her translation from the Norwegian in the Fall 2019 Issue of the journal. You can read Eirill’s issue of MQR: Mixtape here.


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. He is currently a post-graduate fellow in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. He has work forthcoming from Ploughshares. You can follow him on instagram or twitter @aybaebalog. 


Bryan Byrdlong is a Haitian/African-American writer from Chicago, Illinois.  He is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program and received his BA in English/Creative Writing from Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, he was the co-recipient of the Merrill Moore Award for Poetry upon graduation. His work has appeared in the Nashville Review and Heavy Feather Review. He is presently writing poems about Chicago and zombies. You can find him on Instagram at @b___rye.   You can find a travel narrative and a review from Bryan at MQR Online.


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. A “Why I Chose It” from Michael and his Review and Interview with Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman are available on MQR Online


Joumana Altallal is an Iraqi-Lebanese writer and Zell Fellow in Poetry at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. She works with Citywide Poets to lead a weekly after-school poetry session for high school students in Metro-Detroit. Her works appears in Glass Poetry, Kweli Journal, Mud Season Review, and Bayou Magazine, among others. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, Napa Valley Writer’s Conference, and the Radius for Arab American Writers. You can find Joumana on Twitter @joualt. 


Graduate Readers

Afarin Allabakhshizadeh was born in the Khūzestān Province of Iran and raised in Texas. They studied English, Creative Writing, and Human Rights & Social Justice at the University of Texas at Austin. They are currently an MFA candidate in fiction at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. 


Julie Cadman-Kim is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. Her work has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Black Warrior Review, Barren Magazine, The Sonora Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Ann Arbor with her family while she pursues her MFA at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. You can learn more about her writing at juliecadman-kim.com.


David Freeman is a poet from Long Lake, MN. His work has appeared in The Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, and others. He is the recipient of the Gianni Luschei Award in Poetry and his work has been nominated for the Best of the Net 2019 Anthology. He is currently an MFA Candidate in poetry at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. More information can be found at www.davidefreeman.com


Connor Greer is an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Michigan. He grew up in Rochester, NY and lived, until recently, in Portland, OR, where he attended Reed College. He often has trouble sleeping, but sometimes it goes the other way around.


Nathan John was born in Bakau, The Gambia and moved to the United States when he was five. He is currently an MFA candidate in Poetry in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program and received his BA in Creative Writing and African-American Studies from the University of Virginia. His work has appeared in V-Magazine and 4 Anthology. When he is not playing soccer or dancing to Afrobeats, he is probably writing about playing soccer and/or dancing to Afrobeats.


Urvi Kumbhat holds a BA from the University of Chicago and is currently an MFA candidate at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work appears in The Margins, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Apogee, Protean Magazine, and other publications. She grew up in Calcutta. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @curvi_k


Abigail McFee is a poet and Nebraska transplant. She holds a BA in English from Tufts University, where she worked after graduation as editor-in-chief of the Tufts Admissions magazine. She was selected as first runner-up for the Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize. An MFA candidate in Poetry at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, her current project asks how the interiority of human beings (particularly women) can be understood through landscapes. You can find her on Instagram @abbymcfee and Twitter @abigail_mcfee.


Caroline New is a poet and visual artist from Bainbridge, Georgia. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the Helen Zell Writer’s Program and holds a BFA in Anthropology from Davidson College. Her ethnographic research has focused on collective memory and generational trauma, and her poetry confronts environmental change, ancestral culpability, and motherhood in the rural South. Recently, she published Tantely Tapa-Bata, a collection of poems and essays by students in Madagascar. More info can be found at www.carolineharpernew.com

Catherine Valdez is a Dominican-American writer hailing from Miami, FL. She received her BA from Columbia University where she majored in psychology and creative writing. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her chapbook, Imperial Debris in Quisqueya and Beyond, is the winner of the NFSPS ‘s 2018 Florence Khan Award. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Woodbery Prize in poetry.   

Undergraduate Interns


Tahani Almujahid is a rising junior from Dearborn, MI, studying English and International Studies. On campus, Tahani has written for the Michigan Journal of International Affairs, Michigan Daily, and Writer to Writer. She has also served on the e-board for Xylem, which gave her insight to the world of literary publishing. She is excited to further delve into the work behind a magazine by being a part of the MQR team! 


Visit our Internship page to learn more.