Brent A. Spencer, MA, MFA, PhD
Brent A. Spencer, MA, MFA, PhD

Brent A. Spencer, MA, MFA, PhD

Director, MFA Program in Creative Writing, Creighton University
Director, 1992-1997, 2010-Present. Responsible for design and development of undergraduate program in Creative Writing; advising, supervising senior projects.
College of Arts and Sciences


  • Fiction (Writing and Study)
  • Screenwriting (Writing and Study)
  • Modern and Contemporary American Fiction
  • Poetry (Writing and Study)
  • Publishing

Academic Appointments


  • English


  • Professor


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.

Publications and Presentations


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


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


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


  • "Interview with Brent Spencer", Pif Magazine, 25, 1999


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

Editing and Reviews

  • Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film?..A Reporter's Perspective, 1998-2012 [book review], Great Plains Quarterly, 34, 191-192, 2014
  • “Reading My Father by Alexandra Styron” Reviewers Bookwatch [book review], Midwest Book Review, 2011
  • Review of Francine Prose, Bigfoot Dreams, Prairie Schooner, 72:4, 1998
  • 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, Prairie Schooner, 1995
  • "The Country of Donald Hall", Poet and Critic, 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

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

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

Current Research Projects

  • Novel, Collection of Short Stories, Textbook

Awards and Honors

  • Optioned, Pachyderm Productions, 2018
  • Editor/Designer, 2018
  • 3rd Place, Silver Screenwriting Awards, 2015
  • Quarter-Finalist, Nicholl Fellowship, 2015
  • Nominated for the Pushcart Prize, 2014
  • Nominated for Theatre Arts Guild Award, SNAP Productions, 2014
  • Distinguished Service Award, Creighton University, 2014
  • Nebraska Book Award (biography), Nebraska Center for the Book, 2012
  • Top 25%, Page International Screenwriting Awards, 2012
  • Top 25%, Page International Screenwriting Awards, 2012
  • William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, Non-Fiction (short-listed), 2012
  • Winner, Midwest Book Award (Autobiography/Memoir), Midwest Independent Publishers Association, 2012
  • Silver Award, Book of the Year Award, Sponsored by ForeWord Reviews, 2011
  • New England Book Award (Biography/Autobiography), runner-up, 2011
  • IGGY Award, Center for Student Success and Retention, Creighton University, 2011
  • Best Action Screenplay, Chicago Screenwriters Association, 2010
  • Ton 25%, Page International Screenwriting Awards, 2010
  • Gold Award, California Film Awards, 2010
  • Gold Level Award Winner, California Film Awards, 2010
  • Champion Screenwriting Competition, quarter-finalist, 2010
  • Creative World Awards, quarter-finalist, 2010
  • Best Action Screenplay, Chicago Screenwriters Network Contest, 2010
  • 3rd Prize, Silver Screenwriting Competition, 2009
  • Page International Screenwriting Awards, quarter-finalist, 2009
  • Distinguished Artist Award, Nebraska Arts Council/The Backwaters Press, 2009
  • Little Bluestem Award, Nebraska Arts Council/The Backwaters Press, 2009
  • Donald Barthelme Prize, semi-finalist, Gulf Coast Magazine, 2008
  • Semi-finalist, Slamdance Screenplay Competition, 2007
  • Slamdance Screenplay Competition, semi-finalist, 2007
  • The Dorothy Churchill Cappon Nonfiction Award, finalist, New Letters, 2007
  • "The True History" included in the eleventh volume of "Best American Mystery Stories", Ed. Carl Hiaasen (Houghton Mifflin), 2007
  • Included in 101 Best Web Sites for Writers, Writer's Digest, 2005
  • Pushcart Prize, special mention, 2005
  • Faculty Development Award, College of Arts & Sciences, Creighton University, 2004
  • Individual Artist Fellowship, Nebraska Arts Council, 2003
  • Artist's Residency, Yaddo, 2000
  • US West Fellowship, Creighton, 1997
  • Are We Not Men? chosen as one of the 25 best books of 1996, Editors of The Village Voice, 1996
  • Individual Artist Fellowship, Nebraska Arts Council, 1995
  • Summer Research Fellowship, Creighton University, 1994
  • Pushcart Prize, special mention, Missouri Review, 1992
  • Wallace Stegner Fellowship, Stanford University, 1987
  • Editor's Choice Award, Fiction Editor of The Atlantic Monthly, 1986
  • James Michener Award, Iowa Writer's Workshop, 1984
  • Research Grant, Pennsylvania State University, 1979
  • Pushcart Nomination, 1979