Nebraska Authors

Terese Svoboda

Born 1950 Ogallala, NE (USA)

Terese Svoboda is an Ogallala, NE native. Cannibal is a work of fiction based on Svoboda's experiences in Sudan in 1975, while traveling with a film-maker who later revealed himself to be a CIA agent. Svoboda and spouse Steve Bull have co-directed a documentary about the early suffragette Margaret Sanger that aired on Public Television.

Black Glasses Like Clark Kent, 2008, was based on her family history and her uncle's stories about his experiences in the U.S. military in occupied Japan. That book won a Best of Asia Award for 2008 (award from the Japan Times), and the Graywolf Press Prize for non-fiction. She told an interviewer in 2009 that "every writer is a mystery writer at heart."

Her 2001 Trailer Girl was a literary breakthrough book to a wider audience.

Places Lived

Ogallala, NE
Manhattan, NY
Stanford, CA
New York, NY
Montreal, Vancouver, and Victoria, CANADA

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Nonfiction


Family Histories; Fictionalized Memoirs; Poetry; Cli-Fi


Undergraduate Studies, Manhattan College, Manhattan, NY
Undergraduate Studies, Oxford University, Oxford, ENGLAND
Undergraduate Studies, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Undergraduate Studies, University of Colorado
Undergraduate Studies, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Undergraduate Studies, Montreal University of Fine Arts, Montreal, CANADA
Graduated from British Columbia
Master of Arts Degree, Columbia University, New York, NY


Documentary Film-maker
Translator for Anthropological Film Center

Places Worked

SUDAN (Africa)
'Smart Stuff and Good Ideas' Mail-Order Business


Iowa Poetry Prize, 1989
Cannibal received the 1994 Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers
Lucille Medwick Award and Cecil Hemley Award, both from the Poetry Society of America
Great Lakes Colleges Association Award
Guggenheim Fellowship recipient
Bobst Prize in fiction
O. Henry Award for the short story
Pushcart Prize for the essay


Her husband is the film-maker Steve Bull


All Aberration. 1985.
Laughing Africa: Poems. 1990.
Cleaned the Crocodile's Teeth. 1992.
Mere Mortals. 1995.
A Drink Called Paradise. 1999.
Cannibal. 1996.
Trailer Girl. 2001.
Treason: Poems. 2002.
Tin God. 2006.
Black Glasses Like Clark Kent. 2008.
Weapons Grade: Poems. 2009.
Pirate Talk or Mermalade: A Novel. 2010.
Bohemian Girl. 2011.
When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems. 2015.
Professor Harriman's Steam Air-Ship: Poems. 2016.
Anything That Burns You: Lola Ridge, Radical Poet: A Biography. 2016.
Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017. (Contributor) 2017.
Great American Desert: Stories. 2019.
Theatrix: Play Poems. 2021.
Dog on Fire. 2023.

In October 2019, Terese Svoboda was the featured author of the John H. Ames Reading Series in the Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors. The program can be viewed here:

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Terese Svoboda

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)