Multiple groups on campus came together to sponsor one speaker for this week’s lecture.
Kristen Iversen, professor of creative writing at the University of Cincinnati, will be presenting the lecture “Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats.” She will be speaking at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.
Her lecture will discuss writing strategies and her childhood in the Rockies. Iversen will also host a craft talk at 2:10 p.m. in Ross 212. As part of the Pearl Hogrefe Visiting Writers Series, she will talk about research, art, ethics and aesthetics in creative nonfiction.
Iversen grew up near the Rocky Flats nuclear weaponry facility in Arvada, Colorado, and received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver. She is head of the Ph.D. program in literary nonfiction at the University of Cincinnati. During the summers, she serves on the faculty of the MFA low-residency program at the University of New Orleans, held in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Iversen is a fellow at the Taft Humanities Center and serves as literary nonfiction editor of The Cincinnati Review. Iversen is the author of three books, including the award-winning “Full Body Burden.”
Her book describes how she grew up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated "the most contaminated site in America."
“‘Full Body Burden’ is the story of a childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and —unknown to those who lived there — tainted with invisible yet deadly particles of plutonium,” according to the book synopsis. “It's also a book about the destructive power of secrets — both family and government. Her father's hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what was made at Rocky Flats — best not to inquire too deeply into any of it. But as Iversen grew older, she began to ask questions and discovered some disturbing realities.”
The book is based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents and class-action testimony. This taut, beautifully written book is both captivating and unnerving, according to the book synopsis.
“Full Body Burden” has won multiple awards since being published, including the 2013 Colorado Book Award, the Reading the West Book Award in Nonfiction, Mother Jones Best Book of 2012, Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012 and Atlantic Monthly Best Book about Justice.
The lecture is co-sponsored by MFA Program in creative writing and environment, the department of English, the Pearl Hogrefe Fund, Humanities Iowa and Committee on Lectures.