Kristen Iversen, Author
|Born||Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.|
|Genre||Nonfiction, Memoir, Fiction|
Kristen Iversen is an American writer of nonfiction and fiction. Her books include Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats , Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth and Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. She is a Professor in English and Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati and Literary Nonfiction Editor of The Cincinnati Review. Iversen will be a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bergen, Norway in 2020-2021.
Life and work
Kristen Iversen was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up in Arvada, Colorado, near the Rocky Flats nuclear weaponry facility. Her father was an attorney and her mother worked as a public health nurse. Iversen received a BA in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder and worked as a travel writer in Europe for several years before returning to the states to earn a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Denver.
Iversen has taught at universities around the country, including the MFA programs at San Jose State University and Naropa University. She served as director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Memphis and as editor-in-chief of The Pinch, an award-winning literary journal. During the summers, she has taught in the MFA Low-Residency Program at the University of New Orleans, held in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and Edinburgh, Scotland. She is also a Faculty Mentor in the Mile High MFA program at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. As of June 2015, Iversen teaches in the Ph.D. program in Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati, where she also serves as Literary Nonfiction Editor of The Cincinnati Review and is a Fellow at the Taft Research Center. She also serves as Director of the Prose, Poetry, and Passion Seminar in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
She is the author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, a book of memoir and investigative journalism that traces her experience of growing up in a small Colorado community near Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated as “the most contaminated site in America.” Iversen later worked at the plant herself. Full Body Burden won the 2013 Colorado Book Award and the Reading the West Book Award in Nonfiction. It was also chosen one of the Best Books of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews and the American Library Association, and 2012 Best Book about Justice by The Atlantic. The book was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. In 2012, an excerpt from Full Body Burden was published in the June 11th edition of The Nation. Many universities have chosen Full Body Burden for their First Year Experience/Common Read programs and it has been translated into several languages. This book is being made into a documentary film: Full Body Burden, which is purported to come out in Fall 2020.
Iversen also edited an anthology of essays and articles about Rocky Flats by various experts around the country entitled Doom with a View: Historical and Cultural Contexts of Rocky Flats, forthcoming in August 2020. A collection of literary essays, Don't Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn't Seen, co-edited with David Lazar, is forthcoming October 2020. Her textbook, Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction, was the first book in its field to cover the subgenres of creative nonfiction.
Iversen's first book, Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth, is a biography of Margaret Tobin Brown, known to history as “the Unsinkable Molly Brown.” The book won the Colorado Book Award for Biography and the Barbara Sudler Award for Nonfiction and formed the basis for seven documentaries, including the A&E Biography Molly Brown: An American Legend and Molly Brown: Biography of a Changing Nation. A new edition of the book was published in 2018. In 2020, a revival of the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown opened in New York, based on Iversen's book. Her essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The American Scholar, and many other publications.
Kristen Iversen is currently working on a literary biography of Nikola Tesla, which has involved extensive research trips throughout the United States and Europe.
Iversen is married and has two sons. She divides her time between Cincinnati, Ohio and Westcliffe, Colorado.
Full Body Burden summary
Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats is a 2012 memoir fusing Iversen's personal story of growing up in Cold War America with the history of the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant near Denver, Colorado, once called by the Department of Energy “the most contaminated site in America.” 
From 1952 to 1989 there were many fires, leaks, and other mishaps at Rocky Flats. The area became severely contaminated, and little attention was paid to containment and environmental remediation. Carl J. Johnson, director of health between 1973 and 1981, led research into contamination levels and adverse effects on public health, until his employment was terminated. His research results were supported and confirmed by many subsequent studies.
Recent studies indicate that areas on and near the Rocky Flats site are still contaminated with plutonium and may pose a significant health risk.
- Doom with a View: Historical and Cultural Contexts of Rocky Flats. Fulcrum Books.
- Don't Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn't Seen. Co-edited with David Lazar. Ohio State University Press, forthcoming Fall 2020.
- Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats. Crown Publishing Group. 2012. ISBN 978-0-307-95563-0.
- Molly Brown: unraveling the myth. Big Earth Publishing. 1999. ISBN 978-1-55566-237-0.
- Shadow boxing: art and craft in creative nonfiction. Pearson/Prentice Hall. 2003. ISBN 978-0-13-099442-4.
- Radioactive contamination from the Rocky Flats Plant
- Dark Circle (film)
- Making a Real Killing: Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West
- Rocky Flats Truth Force
- Nuclear and radiation accidents by country
- Kristen., Iversen. Full body burden : growing up in the nuclear shadow of Rocky Flats. ISBN 0-307-95563-X. OCLC 753624502.
- "Faculty". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- "Guest Blog: Kristen Iversen". Lofty Ambitions Blog. 2011-12-19. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- "The Dirty Secrets of Rocky Flats". The Nation. 2012-05-22. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Iversen, Kristen (2012-03-10). "Fallout at a Former Nuclear Weapon Plant". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Gill, Leonard (22 September 2011). "Working It: Spotlight on Creative Nonfiction at the University of Memphis". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Kristen Iversen, "Nuclear Fallout", New York Times, March 10, 2012.
- Kristen, Iversen (2012). Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats (Cloth) (First ed.). Crown. p. 432 pp. ISBN 978-0-307-95563-0.
- Kristen, Iversen (2010). Molly Brown: unraveling the myth (Cloth) (10th ed.). Johnson Books. p. 320 pp. ISBN 978-1-55566-237-0.
- Kristen, Iversen (2004). Shadow boxing: art and craft in creative nonfiction (Paper) (Second ed.). Longman. p. 304 pp. ISBN 0-307-95563-X.