Denise Kiernan

New York Times Bestselling author of "The Last Castle" and "The Girls of Atomic City"

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About Denise Kiernan

Denise Kiernan is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author of the nonfiction books, The Last Castle and The Girls of Atomic City (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster).

In her two most popular talks, Kiernan takes audiences back in time to the Gilded Age and the Atomic Age. She describes the excesses and pitfalls of a Vanderbilt’s life in the largest house in the United States, a true Downton Abbey-esque tale that illustrates a nation in flux at the turn of the century. And she also takes audiences into a top-secret world where young women and men lived and worked surrounded by spies and secrecy, as World War II raged and the Manhattan Project raced to harness nuclear power. A lively and engaging speaker, Kiernan enthralls audiences with these diverse yet equally compelling stories of glamour, adventure, intrigue, sacrifice and controversy. Those who have invited Ms. Kiernan to their events routinely laud her as the best speaker their organization has ever had.

She has a real gift for connecting with her audience—not an easy task…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

Kiernan has been working as a writer for more than 20 years covering a variety of topics. She has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Saveur and many more national and international 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. She has produced for outlets such as ESPN and MSNBC, as well as independent productions. She has co-authored the popular history titles Signing Their Lives Away, Signing Their Rights Away and Stuff Every American Should Know (Quirk Books).

Based on her years as a freelancer, she devised a money-management system for independent workers, outlined in The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed (Crown/Random House). She has also co-authored books with athletes, entrepreneurs and actresses. Ms. Kiernan has been a featured guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, PBS NewsHour, NPR Weekend Edition, Morning Joe and The Cycle on MSNBC, The Takeaway on WNYC, and countless other print, television and radio outlets.

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
Carter Presidential Library Author Program

Speech Topics

  • The Last Castle: The True Story Behind the Nation's Largest Home
  • The Girls of Atomic City: Life in a Secret City of the Manhattan Project
  • Book Proposal Boot Camp
  • Grit & Grace: Feminist Inspiration from the Gilded Age to the Atomic Age

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