John Spong

Senior editor John Spong holds a bachelor’ degree in history and a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1997, after a brief yet dramatically unfulfilling stint as a civil litigator in Austin, he joined Texas Monthly as a fact-checker. He became a staff writer in 2002. Spong was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2010 for his story celebrating Texas dance halls, “Step Right Up” and has twice won the Texas Institute of Letters’ O. Henry Award for Magazine Journalism—for “The Good Book and the Bad Book,” about a censorship battle at a private school in Austin, and for “Holding Garmsir,” about a month he spent with a platoon of U.S. Marines fighting in Afghanistan. He is the author of A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove (University of Texas Press, 2012), and his stories have been collected in Best Food Writing 2012 (Da Capo Press, 2012), the Best American Sportswriting 2009 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), Literary Austin (TCU Press, 2007), and Rio Grande (University of Texas Press, 2004). In 2005 the City and Regional Magazine Association named Spong its national writer of the year. He has served on the board of the Texas Book Festival since 2008 and lived in Austin since 1971.

Stories

Best of Austin: Nightlife

Who says it ain’t the good life? These sixteen clubs, lounges, and dives (including one Hole in the Wall) are the reason Austin is called the Live Music Capital of the World.

SPONG
The Best Worst Legislators 1997

From Bush’s good try on property taxes to Bullock’s grand finale, from savvy Sadler to weaselly Wohlgemuth, from Duncan’s beginning to Howard’s end: Our sorting of the session’s standouts—best, worst, and in between.

Television • Stone Cold Steve Austin

Lord of the ring.

Tomorrow People

Meet the senior class of what might be called Texas Music U. — four up-and-coming acts that should graduate to the big time.

Musical Marginalia

The places, people and stories behind Texas music.

Almost Famous

For brothers Charlie and Bruce Robison, making country music safe for men again is an intriguing proposition—and a risky one because of their wives.

A Star Is Sworn

The media lower the boom on Anna Nicole Smith.

Mayor May Not

The campaign against the mayor of Wichita Falls.

History in the Making

Austin's new Bob Bullock museum sports six bas-reliefs that tell the story of Texas. Here's how a sculptor and a team of artisans made them, like the museum's namesake, larger than life.

The Hate Debate

The question about the James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Act isn't whether it will pass. The question is, Is it good law?

Extra! Extra!

Sizing up Chuck Norris.

The Supremes

Judging the three Texan candidates for the nation's highest court.

Spong, Texas Writer

My fifteen minutes of fame.

Pages