Nebraska Authors

Brent Spencer

Born 1952 Bethesda, MD (USA)

Spencer is a native of northeastern Pennsylvania. His novel, The Lost Son is an exploration of a fractured nuclear family in the farming and mining country of Pennsylvania. Spencer worked on a farm in this same area in his late 20's (OWH Entertainment 1/8/95); Spencer began writing when he was 16 years old as an "act of revenge" aimed at the adults who he perceived as limiting him. Many of Spencer's books and stories reflect growing up in a working class family. Spencer teaches creative writing at Creighton University. Spouse of novelist Jonis Agee.

Awards include a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, the James Michener Award at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Nebraska Book Award. Shortlisted for many other awards. Are We Not Men? was chosen one of Village Voice's 25 best books of 1996. Spencer's short story 'Babyman' was optioned for a movie three times. His short story "The True History" was chosen for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories, 2007 by editor Carl Hiaason.

John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 19 February 2004 and 20 March 2011, recordings available through Lincoln City Libraries or the Heritage Room.

Places Lived

Denton, NE
Omaha, NE :1992-
New York City

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Play/Screenplay
  • Poetry
  • Biography


novels; short fiction; creative writing; reviews; screenplays; essays


BA, 1974, Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, PA
MA, 197?, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
MFA, 1984, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
PhD, 1982, Penn. State University, State College, PA
Wallace Stegner Fellow, 1988, Stanford Creative Writing Program


Professor of English

Places Worked

Creighton University 1992 -
Stanford University 1989-92


John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 19 February 2004 and 20 March 2011
Editor's Choice Award
Are We Not Men?, was named one of the 25 best books of 1996 in the Village Voice Literary Supplement.
Spencer's story, The True History, was chosen for the 2007 edition of Best American Mystery Stories.
Received a second place award in the non-fiction, autobiography-memoir category from ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year 2012 for Rattlesnake Daddy
Pushcart Nomination 1993, 1992 and 1979
James Michener Award, Iowa Writer's Workshop, 1984-85
Wallace Stegner Fellowship, Stanford University 1987-88
Nebraska Arts Council Merit Award recipient, 1995
2012 Nebraska Book Award for Rattlesnake Daddy.


Friend of Ronald Hansen.


The Lost Son. 1995.
Are We Not Men?, 1996.
Rattlesnake Daddy. 2011.
All Done with Dying. 2021.

Stories and works of fiction have appeared in:
The Atlantic Monthly,
Missouri Review,
American Literary Review
as well as elsewhere.
Brent Spencer has been the featured speaker in the Ames Reading Series on two occasions:

February 2004

March 2011

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Brent Spencer

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