The Author

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KRISTEN IVERSEN grew up in Arvada, Colorado, near the Rocky Flats nuclear weaponry facility and received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver. She is director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Memphis and also editor-in-chief of The Pinch, an award-winning literary journal. She is also the author of Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth, winner of the Colorado Book Award for Biography and the Barbara Sudler Award for Nonfiction. Iversen has two sons and currently lives in Memphis.

Iversen’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Reader’s Digest, and many other publications. She has appeared on C-Span and NPR’s Fresh Air and worked extensively with A&E Biography, The History Channel, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Her important and ground-breaking work has inspired several documentaries and films. She is the winner of numerous awards, grants, and fellowships.

Kristen Iversen's campus visit is made possible by a generous donation from the Sacramento State University Department of Physics Chien Hu Institute.

“Iversen writes her 50-year account in the present tense, a choice that lends her narrative a crackling immediacy. She writes with an eloquent precision…the result is fiercely non-polemical, nuanced, and ultimately fully convincing.”

“I won’t call Kristen Iversen lucky. She grew up  “in the nuclear shadow” of a facility that processed plutonium for nuclear warheads. No pot of gold there. But as an aspiring writer obsessed with the environment, culture and investigative journalism, I have to marvel at the incredible story in which she found herself.”

Footprint Magazine

“…and one cannot help but be reminded of an Erin Brokovich-type figure, bent on being the voice of the voiceless and elevating investigative journalism to new heights.”

Biographile On-Line Magazine

Author Day Events


Come see and meet the author on Author Day! Author Day is spread over two days this year, Tuesday and Wednesday, November 12 and 13, 2013.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013
An Evening with the Author: Kristen Iversen

"Fukushima, Rocky Flats, and The Myth of Absolute Safety: When Governments or Corporations Put Our Health at Risk"

The accident at Fukushima reminded the world in a terrible way that we cannot ignore the threat of radioactive contamination, whether it comes from nuclear power plants or nuclear weapons sites. People in small towns and big cities across the country are often unknowingly faced with environmental hazards that can lead to serious health issues, including contamination from former nuclear weapons sites and nuclear power plants.

Kristen Iversen will read from and discuss her award-winning book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, a book of memoir and investigative journalism that describes her experience of growing up next to—and eventually working at—one of the most contaminated nuclear sites in the country.  She will also discuss the history of the plant itself, including a dramatic FBI raid, a controversial grand jury, and ongoing litigation and controversy.  What are the environmental, cultural, and historical legacies of U.S. nuclear policy?  What do citizens need to know?

Reading and lecture followed by Q & A. Book signing to follow. Books will be for sale at the event, sold by the Hornet Bookstore.

All ages permitted. No alcohol sold or permitted at venue. Sign language interpreter provided.

Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Time: 7 pm
Location: Ballroom, University Union

For more information, please contact UNIQUE at (916) 278-6997. To find out more about UNIQUE, please click here.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Q&A and Discussion for Learning Communities


Students from the Sac State Learning Communities are invited a special presentation where Kristen Iversen will be joined by faculty and staff. Kristen Iversen will discuss her ten-year journey of writing, and her experiences of growing up next to a secret nuclear facility and later working at the bomb plant herself.  What is the cost of secrecy at the level of family, community, and country?  What is the long-term environmental, historical, and cultural cost of U.S. nuclear policy?  What happened at Rocky Flats, during the Cold War and up to the present moment, is crucially important not only to Colorado but to the entire country, and to each one of us.

Each panelist will present short commentaries and then engage with the audience in a Q&A. Book signing to follow immediately.    

Date:Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Time: 10 am
Location: Ballroom, University Union

For more information, please contact UNIQUE at (916) 278-6997. To find out more about UNIQUE, please click here.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Mid-Day Reading and Campus Lecture by Kristen Iversen

"Rocky Flats and the Secrets of the Cold War"

President Alexander Gonzalez will introduce Dr. Kristen Iversen will discuss her highly-acclaimed book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, a work of memoir and investigative journalism about one of the most notorious nuclear weapons sites in the country.  Full Body Burden is Iversen’s story of growing up in Arvada, Colorado near the Rocky Flats nuclear weaponry facility, which produced more than 70,000 plutonium pits for nuclear bombs between 1952 and 1992.  Local residents and plant workers were largely kept in the dark about radioactive contamination of the air, water and soil. Eventually the Department of Energy conceded that Rocky Flats was the most contaminated site in America.

Iversen will discuss what Americans didn’t know about bomb development and production during and after the Cold War years and the ongoing environmental, historical, and cultural legacy of Rocky Flats and the U.S. nuclear weapons program.  She will also discuss her ten-year process of researching and writing Full Body Burden.  

A presentation of photographs will be followed by discussion and Q & A. Book signing to follow immediately. Books will be for sale at the event, sold by the Hornet Bookstore.

Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Time: Noon
Location: Ballroom, University Union

For more information, please contact UNIQUE at (916) 278-6997. To find out more about UNIQUE, please click here.


More about the author


To find out more about Ms. Iversen, please visit her website at Kristen Iversen.


Ms. Iversen's photo was taken by Jay Adkins. Some of the text on this page was taken from Ms. Iversen's website.

Accessibility


All author day events are accessible for wheelchairs and other mobility devices. The public evening lecture is accompanied by a sign language interpreter.

Full Body Burden is available in accessible formats from the office of Services to Students with Disabilities High Tech Center (SSWD) through Bookshare.org (free membership for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities). Please contact SSWD at sswd@csus.edu or (916) 278-6955 or (916) 278-7239 (TTY) for assistance.