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, Creative Writing, Creighton University
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 is the Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.


  • Post-graduate work in creative writing at Stanford University 1987-88
  • Robert McKee Story Seminar, 2008


Certificate, Literary Publishing Program, Emerson College, Boston, MA, 2014; Certificate, Professional Program in Screenwriting, UCLA School of Theater, Film, & Television, 2010.

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. "Save or Turn to Stone," Road Trip., Backwaters 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


  • The Giant Rats of Sumatra (treatment), New Horizons Picture Corporation, Roger Corman, Executive Producer., Screenplay, 2015
  • Run with the Devil (treatment), New Horizons Picture Corporation, Roger Corman, Executive Producer., Screenplay, 2015
  • Baghdad Rules (co-written with Jonis Agee), Gold Award, California Film Awards, 2010; Best Action Screenplay, Chicago Screenwriters Network Contest, 2010; Top 25%, Page International Screenwriting Awards, 2010, 2011, Screenplay, 2010
  • Everlasting (co-written with Jonis Agee), 3rd-place winner, Silver Screenwriting Awards, 2009., Screenplay, 2009
  • Coultergeist (co-written with Jonis Agee), Semi-finalist in the Slamdance Screenplay competition, 2007., Screenplay, 2007


  • Spencer, B. "Simple Pleasures.", The Sun, 2015
  • Spencer, Brent A., Spencer, Brent A. Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film?..A Reporter's Perspective, 1998-2012 [book review], Great Plains Quarterly, 34, 191-192, 2014
  • Spencer, B. “Long Day’s Journey Into O’Neill.”, Brigit Saint Brigit Newsletter, 2013
  • “Reading My Father by Alexandra Styron” Reviewers Bookwatch [book review], Midwest Book Review, 2011
  • Spencer, Brent "Aubade" [poem], Midwest Quarterly, 52, 352-354, 2011
  • 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. "Class Report" and "Down in the Jungle Room" (short-short), Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Minuscule Fiction., Mammoth Press, 2003
  • "Down in the Jungle Room" (short story), EPOCH, 51:2, 2002
  • "Interview with Brent Spencer", Pif Magazine, 25, 1999
  • 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
  • Review of Francine Prose, Bigfoot Dreams, Prairie Schooner, 72:4, 1998
  • Spencer, B. "This Is the Last of the Nice", GQ, 1996
  • Spencer, B. "All I Ever Wanted", Antioch Review, 1995
  • Spencer, B. "Woman Trades Child for Sportscar" [poem], Hurakan, 1995
  • Spencer, B. "Babyman", Missouri Review, XV, 3, 1992
  • Spencer, B. "Haven't You Ever Seen Cary Grant?", American Literary Review, 1991
  • Spencer, B. "Fishermen at Mori Point" [poem], Midland Review, #6, 1990
  • Spencer, B. "The Small Things That Save us", The Atlantic, 1984
  • "Inside the Programs: Iowa", AWP Newsletter, 1983
  • Spencer, B. "Christmas Cards on Catherine Street" [poem], Intro 13, 1982
  • "Poetry and the Centered Life", Stony Hills, 11, 1982
  • "The Country of Donald Hall", Poet and Critic, 1982
  • "The Poem of Personality Once More", Kayak, 1982
  • Spencer, B. "Terrorist Poem," "Some Postcards" [poem], Arachne, 1981
  • Spencer, B. "Inventor," "Poultry Disease" [poems], Dekalb Journal of Literary Arts, 1980
  • Spencer, B. "Home.", The Sun, 1979
  • Spencer, B. "Farm Ceremony," "Deserted by Bulbs" [poems], US 1 Worksheets, 1979
  • Spencer, B. "Old Hills in Pennsylvania," "Two Lancaster Poems," [poems], Poet and Critic, 1979
  • Spencer, B. "An Epic Poem for Mr. Pope" [poem], King James Review, 1973


  • Full Throttle (co-writer with Jonis Agee), New Horizons Picture Corporation, Executive Producer: Roger Corman. In post-production., Screenplay, 2015
  • Babyman, Optioned twice by Pachyderm Productions., Screenplay, 2015
  • Seven Rivers (co-writer with Bradley Jay Owens). Unproduced., Screenplay, 2015
  • Spencer, B. "The Tyrant's Tales," McSweeney's (online), (, McSweeney's, 2004
  • Spencer, B. "The Hazards of Poetry.", Stanford Magazine, 1991

Editing and Reviews

  • Book Reviews, 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


  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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