Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Committee Member

Douglas Unger

Second Committee Member

Maile Chapman

Third Committee Member

Richard Wiley

Fourth Committee Member

Gillian Pinchevsky

Fifth Committee Member

Patrick Clark

Number of Pages



My thesis, “The Escape Artists”, is a collection of short fiction that represents most of the work I did as a creative writing master’s student. The title is taken from my longest story, a narrative about a young man’s struggle to avoid violence in a federal prison. As a title, “The Escape Artists” also captures major themes in my other stories; characters often pursue emotional escapism or literally seek to evade predators in my fiction. As a writer, I often explore breakdowns in social order, so my stories tend to be set in turbulent, oppressive political climates or else inside domestic struggles – a loss in a family or isolation between couples. The major concern of my writing is the way in which characters young and old, privileged and unprivileged, respond to challenges put upon them by contemporary circumstances outside their control. By setting my work in distinct locales, such as rural Egypt, urban New York, suburban Denver, or inside a South Dakota prison, I hope to offer a worldly reading. Through main characters that are children, young adults, and middle-aged men, I also wish to demonstrate the way priorities and insecurities evolve with age.


Fiction; Short stories


American Literature | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Fiction | Liberal Studies