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Brent A . Spencer, MA, MFA, PhD


Arts & Sciences

Brent Spencer


College of Arts and Sciences
Graduate School
CRHL - Creighton Hall/Administration Building

Brent A . Spencer, MA, MFA, PhD


Arts & Sciences

Brent Spencer is the author of the novel The Lost Son (Arcade Publishing), the short story collection Are We Not Men? (Arcade Publishing), and the memoir Rattlesnake Daddy: A Son’s Search for His Father (Backwaters Press). He is a graduate of The Iowa Writers Workshop, where he won the Michener Award, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer in the Stanford Program in Creative Writing. Winner of the Distinguished Artist Award from the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Book Award, his fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, River Teeth, Best American Mystery Stories, McSweeney's Online, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Teaching Interests

  • Fiction (Writing and Study)

Research Focus

Fiction Writing, Screenwriting, Modern and Contemporary American Fiction, Poetry Writing, Publishing






  • Writer's Workshop Press
    Dialogue Tips and Traps: A Guide for Fiction Writers (chapbook) 2012
  • Writer's Workshop Press
    Making a Scene: A Guide for Fiction Writers (chapbook) 2012
  • Backwaters Press
    Rattlesnake Daddy (memoir) 2011
  • The River Teeth Reader
    Spencer, Brent Tough, p. 308-320 2008
  • Now write!: Fiction writing exercises from today's best writers and teachers
    Spencer, B. Storyboard your story, p. 162-164 2006
  • University of Scranton Press
    Spencer, B. 'Fishermen at Mori Point' and 'Boy Raised by Wolves,' Palpable Clock: 25 Years of Mulberry Poets. 2004
  • University of Nebraska Press
    Spencer, B. 'Pie Night,' A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers. 2004
  • Spencer, B. "Down in the Jungle Room" (short-short), Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Minuscule Fiction.  2003
  • Backwaters Press
    Spencer, B. 'Save or Turn to Stone,' Road Trip. 2003
  • Mammoth Press
    Spencer, B. 'Class Report,' Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Minuscule Fiction. 2003
  • Arcade Publishing
    Are We Not Men? (stories) 1996
  • Arcade Publishing
    The Lost Son (novel) 1995
  • Stanford Alumni Association
    Spencer, B. 'The Small Things That Save Us' (as 'Night, Sleep, Death, and the Stars'), The Uncommon Touch 1989
  • Wampeter/Bantam
    Spencer, B. 'The Small Things That Save Us,' The Editors' Choice 1986
  • Twin Pines Press
    Spencer, B. 'Two Lancaster Poems,' Scanlan Saloon Poetry Anthology 1979


  • New Horizons Picture Corporation
    Full Throttle (co-writer with Jonis Agee), Executive Producer: Roger Corman. Completed, not distributed. 2015


  • Midwest Quarterly
    Spencer, Brent "Aubade" [poem]
    52, p. 352-354 2011
  • Hurakan
    Spencer, B. 'Woman Trades Child for Sportscar' [poem] 1995
  • Midland Review
    Spencer, B. 'Fishermen at Mori Point' [poem]
    #6 1990
  • Intro 13
    Spencer, B. 'Christmas Cards on Catherine Street' [poem] 1982
  • Arachne
    Spencer, B. 'Terrorist Poem' [poem] 1981
  • Dekalb Journal of Literary Arts
    Spencer, B. "Poultry Disease" [poem] 1980
  • Dekalb Journal of Literary Arts
    Spencer, B. 'Inventor,' [poem] 1980
  • US 1 Worksheets
    Spencer, B. 'Farm Ceremony,' [poem] 1979
  • US 1 Worksheets
    Spencer, B. "Deserted by Bulbs" [poem] 1979
  • Poet and Critic
    Spencer, B. 'Old Hills in Pennsylvania' [poem] 1979
  • Poet & Critic
    "Two Lancaster Poems" [poems]
    Fall 1979 1979
  • King James Review
    Spencer, B. 'An Epic Poem for Mr. Pope' [poem] 1973
  • Arachne
    Spencer, B. "Some Postcards" [poem]


  • Pif Magazine
    'Interview with Brent Spencer'
    25 1999


  • Southern Review
    "Thank You, Dark", p. 454-72 2018
  • Fifth Wednesday
    "Let It Go"
    20, p. 178-86 2017
  • Screenplay
    Babyman, Optioned twice by Pachyderm Productions. 2015
  • Brigit Saint Brigit Newsletter
    Spencer, B. “Long Day’s Journey Into O’Neill.” 2013
  • Fifth Wednesday
    Spencer, Brent "Siren" 2010
  • River Teeth
    Spencer, Brent "Mystery ways"
    11, p. 99-108 2009
  • Prairie Schooner
    Spencer, B. "The true history"
    80, p. 139-151 2006
  • Witness
    Spencer, B. "Red-eyed dog", p. 77-86 2006
  • McSweeney's
    Spencer, B. 'The Tyrant's Tales,' McSweeney's (online), ( 2004
    'Down in the Jungle Room' (short story)
    51:2 2002
  • Glimmer Train
    Spencer, B. 'Pie Night' 1999
  • Instructional Technology Magazine
    'WebCT and Me'
    1:3 1998
  • Writer's Digest
    'Ten Dialogue Dos and Don'ts' 1998
  • GQ
    Spencer, B. 'This Is the Last of the Nice' 1996
  • Antioch Review
    Spencer, B. 'All I Ever Wanted' 1995
  • Missouri Review
    Spencer, B. 'Babyman'
    XV, 3 1992
  • American Literary Review
    Spencer, B. 'Haven't You Ever Seen Cary Grant?' 1991
  • Stanford Magazine
    Spencer, B. 'The Hazards of Poetry.' 1991
  • The Atlantic
    Spencer, B. 'The Small Things That Save Us' 1984
  • AWP Newsletter
    'Inside the Programs: Iowa' 1983
  • Stony Hills
    'Poetry and the Centered Life'
    11 1982
  • Kayak
    'The Poem of Personality Once More' 1982
  • The Sun
    Spencer, B. "Simple Pleasures." 1980
  • The Sun
    Spencer, B. 'Home.' 1979

Editing and Reviews

  • Great Plains Quarterly
    Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film?..A Reporter's Perspective, 1998-2012 [book review]
    34, p. 191-192 2014
  • Midwest Book Review
    “Reading My Father by Alexandra Styron” Reviewers Bookwatch [book review] 2011
  • Prairie Schooner
    Review of Francine Prose, Bigfoot Dreams
    72:4 1998
  • Prairie Schooner
    Reviews of various books by contemporary fiction writers: Dallas Morning News, Prairie Schooner, Living Digital, on-line magazine of Prodigy, 1995-96; San Francisco Chronicle, 1985 1988; Aspen Anthology, Rural Review Project, Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, 1978 79 1995
  • Poet and Critic
    'The Country of Donald Hall' 1982



  • Reading, Wayne State College 2014
  • Panelist, "The Price of Free Music," 10th Annual Creighton Business Symposium 2013
  • Reading, "War is Trauma," Hot Shops Art Gallery 2012
  • Reading, Nebraska Arts Council, Omaha, NE 2010
  • "A Spy in the House of Words" (keynote speaker), Two-Year College English Association Conference, Des Moines, Iowa 2010
  • Visiting Writer, Mount Ranier Writers Workshop, Tacoma, WA, 2008 2008
  • Visiting Writer, Nebraska Summer Writers Conference, 2005-2007. Course Taught: Masterclass in the Novel 2005
  • Visiting Associate Professor of English, University of Nebraska--Lincoln, 2004. Course taught: Advanced Fiction Writing (undergraduate) 2004
  • Reading, Lee Booksellers, Lincoln, NE 2003
  • Panelist, Banned Books Week, Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska, University of Nebraska 2003
  • "Writing and Publishing Fiction," Nebraska Book Festival, Grand Island, NE 2003
  • "The Craft of Writing Fiction," Communications Academy, Harry A. Burke High School, Omaha, NE 2003
  • "Wright Morris: The Writer's Eye," Joslyn Museum 2003
  • Reading, Wayne State University 2003
  • Reading& Workshop, Peru State College 2002
  • Reading, Omaha Public Library 2002
  • Reading & Workshop, Northeast Community College 2002
  • Visiting Writer, Taos Summer Writing Festival (2001, 2002, 2013, 2017) Taught weekend and week-long workshops in the writing of fiction and in memoir 2001
  • Visiting Writer, Mississippi River Creative Writing Workshop, 2001, 2002, 2003 2001
  • Visiting Writer, Iowa Summer Writing Festival, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002. Taught weekend and week-long workshops in the writing of fiction 1999
  • Visiting Writer, Sewanee Writers' Conference, 1997, 1998. Taught workshops, gave readings and craft talks, and met with writers individually for manuscript conferences at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee 1997


  • Optioned
    Short story "Babyman" was optioned twice for film development by Pachyderm Productions, a film production company in Hollywood.
    Pachyderm Productions
  • 3rd Place
    Awarded for Everlasting [screenplay], later solicited by Zero Gravity Entertainment.
    Silver Screenwriting Awards
  • Quarter-Finalist
    Chosen as quarter-finalist for Nicholl Fellowship for screenwriting (for Baghdad Rules), sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
    Nicholl Fellowship
  • Nominated for the Pushcart Prize
  • Nominated for Theatre Arts Guild Award
    Nominated for the role of Christopher in "Tribes"
    SNAP Productions
  • Distinguished Service Award
    Creighton University
  • Nebraska Book Award (biography)
    For "Rattlesnake Daddy"
    Nebraska Center for the Book
  • Top 25%
    For "Professor Goomba" (co-writer)
    Page International Screenwriting Awards
  • Top 25%
    For "Baghdad Rules," 2010, 2011, 2012
    Page International Screenwriting Awards
  • William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, Non-Fiction (short-listed)
    For "Rattlesnake Daddy"
  • Winner, Midwest Book Award (Autobiography/Memoir)
    For "Rattlesnake Daddy"
    Midwest Independent Publishers Association
  • Silver Award, Book of the Year Award
    For "Rattlesnake Daddy"
    Sponsored by ForeWord Reviews
  • New England Book Award (Biography/Autobiography), runner-up
    For "Rattlesnake Daddy"
  • IGGY Award
    Awarded to outstanding freshman mentors, counselors, advocates & role models
    Center for Student Success and Retention, Creighton University
  • Best Action Screenplay
    Award for Baghdad Rules.
    Chicago Screenwriters Association
  • Ton 25%
    Awarded for Baghdad Rules [screenplay], 2010, 2011
    Page International Screenwriting Awards
  • Gold Award
    Awarded for Baghdad Rules [screenplay]
    California Film Awards
  • Gold Level Award Winner
    For "Baghdad Rules" (co-writer), 202 chosen from among 1100 entries
    California Film Awards
  • Champion Screenwriting Competition, quarter-finalist
    For "Baghdad Rules," (co-writer), 202 chosen from among 1100 entries
  • Creative World Awards, quarter-finalist
    For "Baghdad Rules" (co-writer), chosen from among 4,000 entries
  • Best Action Screenplay
    For "Baghdad Rules," (co-writer), chosen from among 2000 entries from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
    Chicago Screenwriters Network Contest
  • 3rd Prize, Silver Screenwriting Competition
    For "Everlasting" (co-writer)
  • Page International Screenwriting Awards, quarter-finalist
    For "Everlasting," co-written with Jonis Agee
  • Distinguished Artist Award
    Nebraska Arts Council/The Backwaters Press
  • Little Bluestem Award
    Nebraska Arts Council/The Backwaters Press
  • Donald Barthelme Prize, semi-finalist
    Gulf Coast Magazine
  • Semi-finalist
    Awarded for Coultergeist [screenplay]
    Slamdance Screenplay Competition
  • Slamdance Screenplay Competition, semi-finalist
    For "Coultergeist"
  • The Dorothy Churchill Cappon Nonfiction Award, finalist
    For "Legends of Parts" (creative non-fiction)
    New Letters
  • "The True History" included in the eleventh volume of "Best American Mystery Stories"
    Ed. Carl Hiaasen (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Included in 101 Best Web Sites for Writers
    For the website
    Writer's Digest
  • Pushcart Prize, special mention
  • Faculty Development Award
    College of Arts & Sciences, Creighton University
  • Individual Artist Fellowship
    Nebraska Arts Council
  • Artist's Residency
    Residencies also awarded from The MacDowell Colony and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony
  • US West Fellowship
  • Are We Not Men? chosen as one of the 25 best books of 1996
    Editors of The Village Voice
  • Individual Artist Fellowship
    Nebraska Arts Council
  • Summer Research Fellowship
    For non-fiction book project on U.S.-Mexico border region
    Creighton University
  • Pushcart Prize, special mention
    1994-95, for "Babyman"
    Missouri Review
  • Wallace Stegner Fellowship
    For the study of fiction writing in the Stanford Creative Writing Program
    Stanford University
  • Editor's Choice Award
    "The Small Things That Save Us" chosen as the best story to appear in the magazine that year
    Fiction Editor of The Atlantic Monthly
  • James Michener Award
    For the writing of a novel, funded by Michener and administered by The Copernicus Foundation
    Iowa Writer's Workshop
  • Research Grant
    For the study of poet Theodore Roethke's papers at the University of Washington library
    Pennsylvania State University
  • Pushcart Nomination
    1979, 1992, 1993, 2004. For annual anthology of best writing to appear in little magazines and small presses


  • Editor/Designer
    My wife and I own and operate a small literary publishing company. These are the books I designed, edited, and published in 2018: Bajo, David. The Ensenada Public Library [novel], 2018. Messenger, Carrie. In the Amber Chamber [short story collection], 2018 Lansky, Ellen. Suburban Heathens [novel], 2018 Reichard, William. The Night Horse [poetry collection], 2018 Owens, Bradly. How I Met You [short story collection], 2018. Davis, Fran. West of Love [novel], 2017 Lentini, Carla. Remote Fishing and Sassafras Tea. 2017.
    Brighthorse Books
    2018 - 2018