Kristen Iversen grew up in Arvada, Colorado and is the author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, winner of the 2013 Colorado Book Award and the Reading the West Book Award in Nonfiction. Full Body Burden was chosen one of the Best Books of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews and the American Library Association and Best Book about Justice by The Atlantic, and was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. She 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.

Photo by Jay Adkins

Photo by Jay Adkins

Iversen’s work has been published in The New York Times, The Nation, Reader’s Digest, and many other journals and publications, and she has appeared on C-Span, NPR’s Fresh Air, Coast to Coast, BBC World Outlook, and other radio and TV programs.  She holds a Ph.D from the University of Denver and has taught at several universities.

Currently Kristen teaches at the University of Memphis, where she directs the MFA program in creative writing.  She has two sons, two cats, and a papipom dog with a good eye for comma errors.


-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 Alumni Award for Creative and Academic Achievement at The University of Memphis and the Humanities Tennessee Distinguished Artist Award.

 -Louise Eisenhardt Award for creative and academic achievement, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, April 2011.

 -Creative Arts Fellowship, Colorado Art Ranch, 2009, 2010.

 -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.

-Creative Arts Fellowship, San Jose Arts Council, San Jose, California, 2003.

-Colorado Book Award for Biography, the Fifth Biennial 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.

-Arts Fellowship, Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute, Denver, Colorado, 1992.


Kristen Smile–“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.

-“Final Cut.” Telling Stories Out of Court. Ed. Ruth O’Brien. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2008.

-“Explorations in Nonfiction: A Discussion with Kristen Iversen, John Calderazzo, and Michael Gorra.” Robert Root, editor. The Fourth Genre. 2006.


-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.


Emma with paper (2)