NIU doctoral student releases ‘Texaners’ while in Thailand

Thomas Rhoden
Thomas Rhoden

Drawing on his Texas roots, NIU student Thomas Rhoden recently released “Texaners,” a collection of eight short stories published by Etoile Solitaire Press.

It is the sixth book for Rhoden, a doctoral student in political science.

“I’ve spent about a decade in Southeast Asia, but for the last two years I’ve been in Thailand,” said Rhoden, who is living in Chiang Mai.

In 2014, Rhoden was a member of the Boren Fellowship program, and moved to Mae Sot, Thailand to learn the Karen language. In 2015, he relocated to Chiang Mai to conduct research for his dissertation.

Many would find writing anything in addition to writing a dissertation as a daunting task, but not Rhoden. He has penned five Thailand-inspired books, including a northern Thailand travel guide, a book on the Thai language and a work of literary fiction titled, “The Village.”

Book cover of “texaners”“I wanted to continue to write fiction while studying for my Ph.D. at NIU over last few years, so I found doing shorter stories as a perfect way of doing this without falling behind with academic writing,” Rhoden said. “ ‘Texaners’ is simply a collection of all of those shorter stories combined in a book form.”

Rhoden said that because all of the stories take place in the Lone Star state, where he grew up and went to high school, it inspired the name for the anthology.

“Overall,” he said, “I hope that readers can gain a new perspective on Texas and people from Texas.”

Rhoden will return to NIU in the fall to finish writing his dissertation.

by Jane Donahue

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