Tom Spanbauer grew up on a farm twelve miles outside Pocatello, Idaho.  He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School and Highland High School. In 1969, he received his BA in English literature from Idaho State University. Tom served two years in the Peace Corps in Kenya, East Africa. He returned to Idaho until 1978, when he decided he needed to get out of that state. He moved to New Hampshire, then Vermont, then Key West, Florida. Tom studied at Columbia University while waiting tables at Café Un Deux Trois and Odeon and being a super of five buildings on East Fifth Street. In 1988, he received his MFA in fiction from Columbia. In 1991, Tom settled in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches Dangerous Writing in the basement of his house. Forty (more or less—he’s lost count) of his students have published novels and/or memoirs. His novels include Faraway Places, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, In the City of Shy Hunters, and Now is the Hour.


Intelligence, wit, generosity, love, wisdom, insight, humility, guts, heart-crushing truth and spirit-lifting grace—it’s all there in I Loved You More. This is Tom Spanbauer’s wrenching a

Cheryl Strayed
Author of Wild

Tom Spanbauer’s first novel in seven years is a rich and expansive tale of love, sex, and heartbreak covering 25 years. At the heart of the book is a love triangle: two men, one woman, all of them writers.  The first chapters are set in the mid-80s in New York City. At Columbia, Ben forms a bond...Forward

Faraway Places

  • Introduction by A.M. Homes
  • fiction

A taut, brutal narrative … that comes to hypnotize, shimmering like the brilliant sun on the alfalfa fields.

The New York Times Book Review

​It is early 1950s Idaho and the season of the Chinook—a warm February wind that blows across the flat cookie-sheet plains from the wrong direction. It brings arid earth and hard times, marking the end of childhood for thirteen-year-old Jake Weber and the beginning of trouble for his family....Forward

Readings and events

There are currently no events featuring Mr. Spanbauer on the calendar.


15 September 2016

Carlos Pons Guerra includes Tom Spanbauer along with the other great artists as an important interdisciplinary influence.  “... I hope my many sources of inspiration, the worlds I like to inhabit artistically-–in this case, Jean Genet, Almódovar, Tom Spanbauer, ballet archetypes-–are also there, too.”

“Mariposa: A trans, Caribbean re-imagining of Madame Butterfly,” by Gareth Johnson for Gay Star News

Carlos Pons Guerra’s new work in development for DeNada Dance Theatre is Mariposa – a...Forward

On the Hawthorne Books Blog

Hawthorne Books Loves You More

Posted by Liz Crain on 03 April 2014

I started working at Hawthorne Books in fall of 2009 and now, 17 books later, I’m proud say that I’ve worked on half of the books that Hawthorne has published since it was founded in 2001....Forward

Two out of eight "Small Press Books to Watch in 2014 (AWP edition)," by Valerie Stivers-Isakova for the Huffington Post, include Tom Spanbauer's I Loved You More and Poe Ballantine's Things I Like About America. Lidia Yuknavitch also cited as a "big star"!

Posted by Rhonda Hughes on 06 March 2014

By all accounts, AWP Seattle 2014 was a wild success!

Thank you to Adam O’Connor Rodriguez for working the Hawthorne booth as well as moderating three panels. Thank you to Scott F. Parker, who...Forward