Kristen Iversen

Kristen Iversen grew up in Colorado and writes literary nonfiction and fiction. Two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, her books include Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats; Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth; Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction; and a forthcoming literary biography of Nikola Tesla. She is also editor of the anthology Doom with a View and co-editor of the anthology Don't Look Now. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The American Scholar, and others. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati and Literary Nonfiction editor of The Cincinnati Review. In 2020-2021 Iversen will be a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bergen, Norway.

FORTHCOMING Fall 2020
Dont look now paperback

Would that our memories were self-selecting. But often what we remember most, or most vividly, what has stayed with us as old familiars or problematic parts of our personal image repertoire, are those moments, those tableaus, that caught us unawares, that in short: we wish we hadn’t seen but have never been able to shake. These scenes, slowly enfolding us like bad dreams or flying by like trains on elevated platforms, demand we reach some kind of accommodation with them, make peace or make sense or make amends. The one thing they insist with certainty: they cannot, will not be unseen. This group of prominent American writers tries to come to grips with obsessive memory, the uncanny and bad dreams.

More About Don’t Look Now
FORTHCOMING August 3, 2020
Doom With A View Paperback

Tucked up against the Rocky Mountains, just west of Denver, sits the remnants of one of the most notorious nuclear weapons sites in North America: Rocky Flats. With a history of environmental catastrophes, political neglect, and community-wide health crises, this site represents both one of the darkest and most controversial chapters in our nation’s history, and also a conundrum on repurposing lands once considered lost. As the crush of encroaching residential areas close in on this site and the generation of Rocky Flats workers passes on, the memory of Rocky Flats is receding from the public mind; yet the need to responsibly manage the site, and understand the consequences of forty years of plutonium production and contamination, must be a part of every decision for the land’s future.

More About Doom with a View

Pro­found­ly shocking”

Beau­ti­ful­ly fus­es Iversen’s per­son­al saga of mat­u­ra­tion with the pro­found­ly shock­ing his­to­ry of the Rocky Flats site that few both­ered to inform them­selves about … a beau­ti­ful mem­oir that rec­og­nizes the inevitable intru­sion of greater social forces in all our lives and the risk we take in ignor­ing them.”

Denver Post

Inti­mate… Powerful…”

Intimate…Powerful…A potent exam­i­na­tion of the dan­gers of secrecy…A seri­ous and alarm­ing book [that] has its share of charm­ing moments.”

—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Exquis­ite­ly researched”

Gripping…exquisitely researched…A superbly craft­ed tale of Cold War America’s dark underside.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Per­son­al and powerful”

One of the most impor­tant sto­ries of the nuclear era — as per­son­al and pow­er­ful as Silk­wood, told with the sus­pense and nar­ra­tive dri­ve of The Hot Zone. With unflinch­ing hon­esty, Kris­ten Iversen has writ­ten an inti­mate and deeply human mem­oir that shows why we should all be con­cerned about nuclear safe­ty, and the dan­gers of ignor­ing sci­ence in the name of nation­al secu­ri­ty … an essen­tial and unfor­get­table book.”

—REBECCA SKLOOT, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Pow­er­ful and beautiful”

The fight over Rocky Flats was and is a par­a­dig­mat­ic Amer­i­can bat­tle, of cor­po­rate and gov­ern­ment pow­er set against the brav­ery and anger of nor­mal peo­ple. This is a pow­er­ful and beau­ti­ful account, of great use to all of us who will fight the bat­tles that lie ahead.”

—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Falter

Tremen­dous suspense”

In this pow­er­ful work of research and per­son­al tes­ti­mo­ny, Iversen chron­i­cles the sto­ry of America’s will­ful­ly blink­ered rela­tion­ship to the nuclear weapons indus­try through the haunt­ing expe­ri­ence of her own fam­i­ly in Colorado…The grief was ongo­ing, as Iversen ren­ders in her mas­ter­ly use of the present tense, con­vey­ing tremen­dous sus­pense and impres­sive con­trol of her material.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Shock­ing and infuriating”

Iversen seems to have been des­tined to write this shock­ing and infu­ri­at­ing sto­ry of a glo­ri­ous land and a trust­ing cit­i­zen­ry poi­soned by Cold War mil­i­tarism and hot’ con­t­a­m­i­na­tion, secrets and lies, greed and denial….News sto­ries come and go. It takes a book of this excep­tion­al cal­iber to focus our atten­tion and mar­shal our col­lec­tive com­mit­ment to pre­vent­ing future nuclear horrors.”

Booklist (starred review)

Ter­ri­fy­ing­ly brilliant”

This ter­ri­fy­ing­ly bril­liant book — as per­fect­ly craft­ed and metic­u­lous­ly assem­bled as the nuclear bomb trig­gers that lie at its core — is a sav­age indict­ment of the Amer­i­can strate­gic weapons indus­try, both haunt­ing in its pow­er, and yet won­der­ful­ly, charm­ing­ly human as a mem­oir of grow­ing up in the Atom­ic Age.”

—SIMON WINCHESTER, author of The Professor and the Madman and Atlantic.