Chris Gavaler Assistant Professor of English

Chris Gavaler

Payne 213


M.F.A., Fiction, University of Virginia (2006).
M.A., English Education, Rutgers Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University (1992).
B.A., English, Rutgers College (1988).


Fiction, drama, superheroes.


ENGL 202-Playwriting
ENGL 203-Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction
ENGL 255-Superheroes
ENGL 308-Advanced Fiction Writing
ENGL 380- 21st Century North American Fiction: Thrilling Tales
ENGL 413-Strategies in Fiction
WRIT 100-First Year Writing Seminar: I See Dead People

Selected Publications


  • School for Tricksters. Southern Methodist University Press. 2011.
  • Pretend I'm Not Here. HarperCollins. 2002.


  • Prose poem sequence. “Paragon Comics.”Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books. Minor Arcana Press. February 2014.
  • Short story. “A Working Theory of Everything.” Phantom Drift. 3. Fall 2013.
  • Short story. “The Way Home.” The Saint Ann’s Review. Summer/Fall 2012.
  • Short story. “Isn’t.” Phantom Drift. 2. Fall 2012.
  • Short story. “Talk to the Dead.” Tampa Review. 43.44. 2012.
  • Short story. “The Way Back.” Fiction. 58. 2012.
  • Short story. “A Very Light Fever.” Witness. 25.1. Spring 2012.
  • Short story. “Who’s Afraid?”. Zone 3. 27.1. Spring 2012.
  • Short story. “Script Outline: ‘The One and Only!’ Draft 1.” The Pinch. 31.2. Fall 2011.
  • Creative nonfiction. "Supergirl." Brain, Child. 12.1. Winter 2010.
  • Short story. "The Hole It Would Leave." Crazyhorse. 77. Spring 2010.
  • Short story. "C+, B-, B, F, B, A, C-, A-." dislocate. 6. Spring 2010.
  • Short story. "My Half." Quarter After Eight. 16. Spring 2010.
  • Short story. "The Marriage of the Strawman and the Patchwork Girl." The Literary Review. 53.1. Fall 2009.
  • Short story. "Almost Africa." Saranac Review. 5. 2010.
  • Short story. "Waiting for You." roger. 4. Spring 2009.
  • Short story. "G.O.D." The Hudson Review. LXII.1. Spring 2009.
  • Short story. "Identical." Potomac Review. 45. 2009.
  • Short story. "NAME: ___________." Pank. 3. 2009.
  • Short story. "The First Documentary." Witness. XXII. 2009.
  • One-act play. "The Chris and Alex Show." Third Coast. Spring 2008.
  • Short story. "Truth." American Literary Review. 19.1. Spring 2008.
  • Short story. "Is." New England Review. 29.2 2008.
  • Short story. "Sixteen." Short Story. 5. Fall 2008.
  • Short story. "Tax Information for Parents of Kidnapped Children." Phoebe. Fall 2008.
  • Short story. "Regrets." Beloit Fiction Journal. 21. 2008
  • Short story. "Indian Finds Blood on Trail of Lost Child." South Dakota Review. 46.1 2008.
  • Short story. "The Bones." Prairie Schooner. 82.1. 2008.
  • Short story. "Recipe for Giblets." Crab Orchard Review. 12.2. 2007.
  • Short story. "Earth 2." Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly. 8.4. 2007.
  • Short story. "Bury the Survivors." minnesota review. 68. 2007.
  • Short story. "Ivy Miller Poses." Southwest Review. 92.1. 2007.
  • Short story. "Best Adaptation." Sou'wester. 35.1. 2006.
  • Short story. "Yes." storySouth. Fall 2006.
  • Short story. "Simple Objects." Boulevard. 22.1 2006.
  • Short story. "Burn This When You're Done Reading." Saint Ann's Review. 6.1 2006
  • Creative nonfiction. "Paperback." Texas Review. 26.3&4. 2006.
  • Ten-minute play. "Who's on First: The Movie." McSweeney's Internet Tendency. 2005. Reprinted Toronto Star, March 12, 2005.
  • Short story. "The Passion of Joan Allen." Black Warrior Review. 32.1. 2005.
  • Short story. "The Longest Distance." Aethlon. 22.2. 2005.
  • Short story. "INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY." Hayden's Ferry Review. 35. 2005.
  • Short story. "Plague of Frogs." Image. 44. 2005.
  • Short story. "The Best and Worst Sex Scenes of All Time." Shenandoah. 54.3. 2005.


  • One-act play. “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September, 2014.
  • Ten-minute play. “Cell Phone.” Hell With the Lid Off. Thoreau, NA—A Production Company. Pittsburgh, PA, Spring 2014.Barhoppers, Charlottesville, VA, March 15-17, 22-24, 29-31, April 5-7, 2009. WOMENSCENE, Pittsburgh, PA, May 15-17, 2008.
  • One-act play. “Life on Mars.” Staged Reading. Pittsburgh New Works Festival, August 19, 2012.
  • One-act play. “The Tragedy of John Wilkes Booth.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 8-11, 2011.
  • Short screenplay. "Mary's Fare." Filmed by Linda Byrket, Bret Dahlgren, Donald L. Drennan. Premiered Cowtown Film Series-Shorts, Columbus, OH, December 2009.
  • One-act play. "Vows." Pittsburgh New Works Festival, October 1-4, 2009.
  • Full-length play. William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of John Wilkes Booth. Staged reading, Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays, Orlando Shakespear Theater, January 25 & 29, 2009. Workshop production, Virginia Playwrights Initiative, Hamner Theatre, Nelson County, VA, December 7, 2008.
  • Ten-minute play. "Angie." The Body Beautiful, Your Inner Vagabond, Pittsburgh, PA, January 21-25, 2009.
  • One-act play. "Man Woman Hombre Mujer." Pittsburgh New Work Festival, September 2008.
  • One-act play. "The Chris and Alex Show." Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 2007.
  • Long Poem. "Ahkwetelamwi." Adapted as dance script "Re-Membering: The World is Made Daily in Our Hearts," choreographed by Joan Gavaler, premiered November 2007, Williamsburg, VA. Adapted as dance script "Practice Songs," premiered November, 1991, Columbus, OH.
  • One-act play. "Moving Mary." Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 2006.
  • Ten-minute play. "Who's on First: The Movie." Filmed by Socal Film Group, CA, premiered Austin Film Festival 2005.
  • Short screenplay. "Always Late." Filmed by One Block Over. 2004.
  • Poem. "Virus Warning." Adapted as dance script "Virus Warning 42: A Poetry Reading," choreographed by Joan Gavaler, premiered Williamsburg, VA, October 30, 2003.


  • Scholarly article. “The Bell-born Superhero.” The Journal of American Culture. 37.2. June 2014
  • Critical essay. “Is and Isn’t: Literary Upheavals in the Post-Real Landscape.” The Writer’s Chronicle. April 2014.
  • Scholarly article. “The Imperial Superhero.” PS: Political Science & Politics. 47.1. January 2014.
  • Craft essay. “How to Teach Zombies.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. October 29, 2013.
  • Scholarly article. “The Ku Klux Klan and the birth of the superhero.” Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. 4.2. 2013.
  • Craft essay.“Five Sentences.” The Exercise Book. Wellington, NZ: Victoria UP, 2011.
  • Short essay. "Sylvester Long." African American National Biography. Oxford UP. January 2008.
  • Scholarly article. "Chameleons and Imposters: Marianne Moore and the Carlisle Indian School." Co-authored with Lesley Wheeler. Paideuma. 33.2&3. 2005.
  • Book review. Jon Reyhner and Jeanne Eder. American Indian Education: A History.Virginia Quarterly Review. 81.1. 2005.
  • Book review. John Bierhorst. Mythology of the Lenape: Guide and TextsAmerican Indian Culture and Research Journal. 20.2. 1996.
  • Scholarly article. "I Mend a Break in Time: An Historical Reconstruction of H.D.'s Wunden Island Ceremony in The Gift and Trilogy." Sagetrieb. 15.1&2. 1996.
  • Scholarly article. "The Empty Lot: Spiritual Contact in Lenape and Moravian Religious Beliefs." American Indian Quarterly. 18.2. 1994.
  • Experimental essay. "Endnotes to 'Righting the Margins: The Prosody of Prose in Language Writing.'"Poetic Briefs 17. August/September 1994.


Honors and Awards

  • Short story. "G.O.D." Other Distinguished Stories of 2009, Best American Short Stories2010.
  • Short story. "Is." Selected for The Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy 3. Edited by Kevin Brockmeier. Underland Press. 2010.
  • Short story. "Marriage of the Strawman and the Patchwork Girl." Nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 2009.
  • Short story. "Identical." Nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 2009.
  • Short story. "NAME: ___________." Nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 2009.
  • One-act play. "Vows." Outstanding Playwright award, Pittsburgh New Works Festival, October 1-4, 2009. Delauney Playwriting Award, University of Virginia, 2006.
  • One-act play. "Man Woman Hombre Mujer." Outstanding Playwright and Outstanding Production awards, Pittsburgh New Work Festival, September 2008.
  • Full-length play. The Last Video Store Starring Albert MacKenzie. Semifinalist, City Attic Theatre Play Competition. 2008.
  • One-act play. "No Service." Honorable Mention, FirstStage One-Act Competition 2007.
  • One-act play. "The Chris and Alex Show." Outstanding Playwright and Outstanding Production awards, Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 2007.
  • Short film. "Who's on First: The Movie." Director's Choice for Best Comedy, Smogdance Film Festival 2007. Silver medal for Short Short, Rebel Planet Film Festival 2007.
  • One-act play. "Moving Mary." Outstanding Playwright award, Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 2006.
  • Short screenplay. "Always Late." Audience Award Winner and Finalist for Cincinnati's 48 Hour Film Competition 2004.