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Current Readers & Interns

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.

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. 

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.

Graduate Readers

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.

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

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.

Kassy Lee is currently an MFA Candidate in poetry in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program and received her BA in Comparative Literature & Society from Columbia University. She reads poetry for MQR. Her poetry has appeared in Apogee Journal, The Columbia Review, The Shanghai Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her translations from Mandarin Chinese have appeared in Spittoon Literary Magazine and her essays have appeared in LARB. Her most recent chapbook The Period of Warring States was published by Another New Calligraphy in 2017. Her first chapbook zombia was published by dancing girl press in 2014. You can find her hot takes on poetry and translation on Twitter @kassylee. Kassy’s review of Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic can be found on MQR Online.

Kashona Notah is an MFA fiction candidate in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. He holds a BA in English and Creative Writing with a minor in Native American Studies from Stanford University. Notah is the recipient of the Louis Sudler Prize, The Mary Steinbeck Dekker Award, and was a 2016 Peripheral Poets fellow.

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. Her interview with Ingrid Rojas Contreras can be found on MQR Online.

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.   

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

Maya Dobjensky is a fiction MFA candidate at the University of Michigan. Her work has appeared in Miramar and Electric Literature, where it was nominated for a Pushcart.

Undergraduate Interns

Natalie Lyijynen is a freshman at the University of Michigan majoring in Biology, Health, and Society. Wanting to pursue environmental law in the future, she joined MQR specifically through the UROP program to help research the global water crisis. She’s always had an artistic side and has further realized her love for creative writing after being a part of the Lloyd Scholars Program for Writing and the Arts. 

Liat Weinstein is a sophomore from Brooklyn, New York pursuing a major in History with a minor in English. She is an assistant news editor at the Michigan Daily, where she reports primarily on the University’s administration. Previously, she interned at a literary agency and is thrilled by the opportunity to learn more about the world of literary publishing. You can follow her on Twitter @liatwTMD.