Meet the Team

Our Editors

Leslie Wilber (she/her)
Leslie Wilber (she/her)


Leslie Wilber is the editor-in-chief of the Cheat River Review. She’s a third-year MFA student at West Virginia University, where she mostly writes kinda weird short fiction and sometimes draws little comics. You can read her recent work at Defunct, Little Engines and Rejection Letters. Follow her on Twitter @LeslieWilber.

Ola ElWassify (she/her)

Web Editor

Ola ElWassify is an Egyptian poet and artist, currently doing her MFA in poetry at West Virginia University and the Cheat River Review Web Editor. She has a BA in English Literature and Linguistics. Her work is a hybrid between poetry and CNF. Sometimes, she uses narrative photography and art collages, taking visual poetry to a new level. Lips, fuchsia, and childhood are some of the subject matters she delves into. Art, as seen by Ola, is revolutionary, necessary, and inevitable. When not writing, she is usually playing chess, hiking, or making art. Follow her on Twitter: @OlaWassify.

Ashley Preece (she/her)
Ashley Preece (she/her)

Poetry Editor

Ashley is a third-year MFA candidate in poetry. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with an undergraduate in English back in 2019. A total introvert, she spends most of her time reading and writing, figuring out creative madness, and calling her dog, Eli, her best friend.

Megan Williams (she/her)

Creative Nonfiction Editor

Megan Williams is the Creative Nonfiction Editor of the Cheat River Review. She’s a second-year MFA candidate at West Virginia University, where she writes personal essays about sexual trauma and internet culture. Her work is forthcoming in HAD, Chapter House Journal, and mutiny! When not bumming people out via writing, you can find Megan tweeting @megannn_lynne

Emily Merrick (she/her)

Fiction Editor

Emily Merrick is a fiction MFA student at WVU. She enjoys reading mythology, as well as modern reinterpretations of myth and folklore like Circe and The Witcher games. When she isn’t squirreled away in a coffee shop corner writing, you can find her walking through forest and mountain trails.

Jonah Stokes (he/him)

Social Media Editor

Jonah Stokes was born in Danville, Indiana, but quickly moved around the nation. From Colorado to West Virginia to Tennessee to Mississippi and then back to Tennessee, Jonah has spent his life traveling and living in the Southern United States. He is a second-year MFA candidate in Poetry. He moved to WVU from Chattanooga Tennessee, where he received a BA in History and English: Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He enjoys writing about Queer pain, visibility, anger, and joy and sees poetry as a way to explore the self. For Jonah, writing is at its root a powerful example of vulnerability. When he is not listening to Dolly Parton, watching The Real Housewives franchise, reading, or writing, you can find him drinking iced coffee and speed walking somewhere that he is likely already late to. He is a cat dad of two boys, Watson and Midas, and enjoys spending most days with them.

Zach Hunley (he/they)
Zach Hunley (he/they)

Arts Editor

Zach is a current second-year MA candidate in art history interested in modern and contemporary art, as well as theory, criticism, and curation. Originally from Charleston, WV, Zach completed their undergraduate studies at WVU in Spring 2021 — receiving dual degrees in political science and multidisciplinary studies. When not writing about art, you will most certainly find Zach talking about it with anyone who is willing to listen.

Our Readers/Reviewers

Grace Smith (she/her)

Fiction Reader

Grace Smith writes prose and poetry. Her work has been published in Muzzle and is forthcoming in Posit.

Anna Schles (she/her)
Anna Schles (she/her)

Multi-genre Reader

Anna Schles is a third-year MFA candidate in fiction at WVU.  She is from Charleston, West Virginia. When not reading or writing, she enjoys drawing, listening to music, playing chess, (over)analyzing popular culture, and trying to make her friends laugh.  Her work has appeared in The Charleston Anvil.

Matthew Powney (he/him)

Poetry Reader

Matt Powney immigrated from England with his family to Parkersburg, West Virginia when he was three years old. He has a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and is currently getting an MFA in poetry. In his time, he enjoys longboarding, learning to play the bass guitar, and doting on his three scraggly tomato plants. He lives with his girlfriend, Kay, and their four cats: Wynonna, River, Bat, and Bubba.

Nathaniel Ricketts (he/him)

Poetry Reader

Nathaniel Ricketts is a poet and a first-year MFA candidate at WVU. He’s from the Paris of Appalachia, but he is doing his best to see the rest of “France.” His poetry can be found in Tampa Review and Peace, Land & Bread.

Ashley Campbell

Nonfiction Reader

Ashley Campbell is an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction. Her essays have appeared in Salt Hill Journal and Newfound Journal.


Sam Stebbins

Nonfiction Reader

Sam Stebbins is a poet from Michigan, an MFA Candidate at West Virginia University, and a nonfiction reader for the Cheat River Review. Her work has appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Cease, Cows, and elsewhere.

Benjamin Clabault (he/him)

Fiction Reader

Benjamin Clabault is a writer and teacher from Sandwich, Massachusetts. He is a first-year MFA student at West Virginia University, and he enjoys stories that forge exciting, novel paths in the dogged pursuit of truth.

Elise Zukowski (she/her)

Fiction Reader

Elise Zukowski is a writer from Michigan and a first-year MFA candidate at West Virginia University. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, painting, and cuddling her cats. Her work has appeared in Every Day Fiction and 101 Proof Horror.