Author Profile

Denise Kiernan

Denise Kiernan Denise Kiernan has been working as a writer for nearly 20 years. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Village Voices, Ms. Magazine, Reader's Digest, Discover and many more publications. She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" during its Emmy award-winning first season and has produced for media outlets such as ESPN and MSNBC. She has authored several popular history titles including Signing Their Lives Away, Signing Their Rights Away, and Stuff Every American Should Know.

Her most recent book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times and NPR Bestseller, and was named as one of Amazon's Top 100 Best Books of 2013. She has been a featured guest on NPR's "Weekend Edition," PBS NewsHour, MSNBC Morning Joe and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

"She has a real gift for connecting with her audience... The consensus of the people I've talked to who are series "regulars" is that she is at the very top of all the many speakers in the entire eleven-year history of the program--a sentiment with which I fully concur."
-- William B. Crawley, Director, Great Lives Lecture Series

"Denise is one of the best speakers I've ever heard, and people were entranced. This was the event of the year."
-- Flossie McNabb, Event Coordinator, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

"My only regret about Denise Kiernan's appearance as part of the Science Track at this year's Decatur Book Festival is that we didn't book a larger space. The 300-seat ballroom was packed to the gills with science lovers and history lovers, enraptured by Denise's riveting and humane account of the 'girls' who worked behind the scenes at Oak Ridge, Tennessee as part of the top-secret wartime effort to build the first atomic bomb."
-- Marc Merlin, Director, Atlanta Science Tavern

"Denise has not only written a fascinating book, she is a wonderful speaker. She drew a large audience for her talk at the Carter Presidential Library and the audience loved her presentation."
-- Tony Clark, Presidential Library Author Program

"She is a shining star: professional, engaging, approachable. In this day and age of the superficial and synthetic personality, Denise Kiernan is the real thing."
-- Joel Walker, Education Specialist, National Archives at Atlanta

For more about Denise and her works, go to

Reviews of The Girls of Atomic City

A phenomenal story.
-- Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

The image of Rosie the Riveter--women filling in at factories to help the war effort--is well known. But women also assisted on the Manhattan Project, signing up for secret work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to help build the atomic bomb. Kiernan looks at the lives and contributions of these unsung women.
-- New York Post,

Certainly the timeline, the science, the major military and political players, and so on are well known. But it has taken an astute woman writer to tell the story in a whole new way. Thanks to author Keirnan, we hear from a group of that generation's women, now in their eighties and nineties, whose wartime experience matched no one else's. Ever. Anywhere.
-- Seattle-Post Intelligencer,

The Girls of Atomic City is the best kind of nonfiction: marvelously reported, fluidly written, and a remarkable story about a remarkable group of women who performed clandestine and vital work during World War II. Denise Kiernan recreates this forgotten chapter in American history in a work as meticulous and brilliant as it is compulsively readable.
-- Karen Abbott, author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

Videos featuring Denise Kiernan


Denise Kiernan on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart