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 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.
Joumana Altallal was born in Baghdad to Iraqi and Lebanese parents. She is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. She works with Citywide Poets to lead an after-school poetry program for high school students in Dearborn, MI. Her work has appeared in Virginia Literary Review, Inkstone, and Jaffat al-Aqlam, and elsewhere.
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 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 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.
Sofia Ergas Groopman is an MFA candidate in fiction at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, and Vice Magazine, and her translation of Bestiare D’Amour by Jean-Claude Carrière and Isabella Rossellini was premiered by Rossellini at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In her past life, she was an Associate Editor at Harper/HarperCollins, where she acquired and edited a mix of nonfiction and fiction. Now, she lives in Ann Arbor with her wirehaired dachshund Roger.
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 Letter, Zyzzyva, 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 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 is a first-year MFA Fiction candidate at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work is published and forthcoming in Catapult, Tin 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’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 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 ashleywhitaker.net, or follow her on Twitter @ashtraywhitaker.