Kristen Iversen grew up in Arvada, Colorado with three siblings and an ever-changing cast of dogs, cats, and horses.  Before returning to school for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Denver,  Kristen worked as a waitress, stablehand, food truck driver, nuclear weapons plant employee, and travel writer in Europe.  She writes nonfiction and fiction and has lectured widely across the U.S. and abroadKristen Smile.  Currently Kristen lives in Cincinnati, where she heads the PhD program in Literary Nonfiction at the University of Cincinnati.  She has two sons who share her love of travel and the outdoors, and a small dog who fits in a book bag.

Iversen is the author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Reading the West Book Award, and chosen one of the Best Books of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews, the American Library Association, and Mother Jones Magazine, and 2012 Best Book about Justice by The Atlantic.  Selected by universities across the country for their First Year Experience/Common Read programs, Full Body Burden was also a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award.  Recently Full Body Burden was published in China and Japan. Iversen is also the author of  Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth, winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Barbara Sudler Award for Nonfiction, and a textbook, Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction.  Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe NationReader’s DigestFourth Genre, and many other publications. She has appeared on C-Span, NPR’s Fresh Air, and BBC World Outlook, and worked extensively with A&E Biography, The History Channel, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 2014 was the recipient of the award for Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts from the University of Memphis.


  • Faculty Research Grant, University of Cincinnati, Summer 2017.
  • Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts, University of Memphis, June 2014.
  • The Colorado Book Award in Nonfiction, June 2013.
  • Reading the West Award in Nonfiction, June 2013.
  • Award for Journalistic Excellence, The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Washington, D.C., 2013.
  • Nominated for the 2013 Humanities Tennessee Distinguished Artist Award.
  • Louise Eisenhardt Award for creative and academic achievement, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, April 2011.
  • Creative Arts Fellowships from Colorado Art Ranch (2009, 2010), San Jose Arts Council (2003), Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute (1992).
  • Finalist, The Iowa Review Award for Nonfiction, 2006.
  • Early Career Research Award and Faculty Research Grant for Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, The University of Memphis, 2005, 2006.
  • Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Prize for Chatelaine (essay), 2004.
  • Colorado Book Award for Biography, Barbara Sudler Award for Nonfiction, and finalist for the WILLA Award in Nonfiction for Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth.
  • Finalist, The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, 1993, The Shape of a Secret (short stories), University of Georgia Press.


  • “A Good Snake Story.”  1966: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction, Spring 2017.
  • “Story of a Stranger.” Readers Digest, October 2013.
  • “Nuclear Fallout.” The New York Times, March 10, 2012.
  • “How to Be Tough in Creative Nonfiction.” The Art of Friction II: (Meta)Writing in (Non)Fiction. Jill Talbot, ed. University of Iowa Press, 2012.
  • “An Interview with Kristen Iversen.” The Art of Friction II: (Meta)Writing in (Non)Fiction. Jill Talbot, ed. University of Iowa Press, 2012.
  • “Kristen Iversen: Roaming Writer.” Skirt Magazine. June 2010.
  • “Crash.” The Normal School. California State University, Fresno. Fall 2010.


  • BBC: Picture This. “Full Body Burden and the Rocky Flats Story.” November 2012.
  • Reader’s Digest. “My Nuclear Neighborhood.” June 2012.
  • Molly Brown: Biography of a Changing Nation. National Endowment for the Arts, Historic Denver, and the Molly Brown House Museum, 2008.
  • Molly Brown: An American Original. Arts and Entertainment (A & E) Biography, 1997.
  • Molly Brown. Great Museums (PBS). 2004.
  • What Happened After: The Titanic Survivors. The History Channel, 2001.
  • The Life and Legend of Molly Brown. Knowledge Television, Echo Productions, August 1999.
  • Beyond Titanic. A & E Biography, March 1998.
  • America’s Castles: The Story of Molly Brown. A & E Network, August 1998.