Stephen Kiernan

Award-Winning Journalist & Nonfiction Writer
Acclaimed Novelist
Travels from: Burlington, VT

“Kiernan recreates the zeitgeist of America leading up to the atomic bomb on a national and personal level: the eager anticipation of wartime’s end, the grimly fascinating science, and the growing sense of guilt and dread. Simultaneously tender and hard-hitting, this riveting story offers much to reflect upon.”   Booklist

As a journalist and novelist, Stephen P. Kiernan has published nearly four million words. His newspaper work garnered more than forty awards — including the George Polk Award and the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment.

Stephen’s newest novel is Universe of Two. He is also author of the novels The Curiosity (now in television series development), The Baker’s Secret (a regional Indie bestseller), and The Hummingbird. He has also written two nonfiction books, Last Rights and Authentic Patriotism. His work has been translated into many languages.

Stephen was born in Newtonville, NY the sixth of seven children. A graduate of Middlebury College, he received a Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has chaired the board of the Young Writers Project, served on the Vermont Legislative Committee on Pain and Palliative Care, and served on the advisory board of the New Hampshire Palliative Care Initiative. He has spoken and consulted around the country about hospice, palliative care and advance directives.

A performer on the guitar since he was ten years old, Stephen has recorded 3 CDs of solo instrumentals, and composed music for dance, the stage and documentary films. He lives in Vermont with his two amazing sons.

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Universe of Two A Novel

William Morrow |
Fiction

“Stephen Kiernan has pulled off the nearly impossible…The most tender, terrifying, relevant book you’ll read this year.” — Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family

From the critically acclaimed author of The Baker’s Secret and The Curiosity comes a novel of conscience, love, and redemption—a fascinating fictionalized account of the life of Charlie Fisk, a gifted mathematician who was drafted into Manhattan Project and ordered against his morals to build the detonator for the atomic bomb. With his musician wife, he spends his postwar life seeking redemption—and they find it together.

Graduating from Harvard at the height of World War II, brilliant mathematician Charlie Fish is assigned to the Manhattan Project. Working with some of the age’s greatest scientific minds, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard, Charlie is assigned the task of designing and building the detonator of the atomic bomb.

As he performs that work Charlie suffers a crisis of conscience, which his wife, Brenda—unaware of the true nature of Charlie’s top-secret task—mistakes as self-doubt. She urges him to set aside his qualms and continue. Once the bombs strike Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the feelings of culpability devastate him and Brenda.

At the war’s end, Charlie receives a scholarship to pursue a PhD in physics at Stanford—an opportunity he and Brenda hope will allow them a fresh start. But the past proves inescapable. All any of his new colleagues can talk about is the bomb, and what greater atomic weapons might be on the horizon. Haunted by guilt, Charlie and Brenda leave Stanford and decide to dedicate the rest of their lives to making amends for the evil he helped to birth into the world.

Based on the life of the actual mathematician Charles B. Fisk, Universe of Two combines riveting historical drama with a poignant love story. Stephen Kiernan has conjured a remarkable account of two people struggling to heal their consciences and find peace in a world forever changed.

The Baker’s Secret: A Novel

William Morrow Paperbacks |
Fiction

“A tale beautifully, wisely, and masterfully told.”— Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun

From the multiple-award-winning, critically acclaimed author of The Hummingbird and The Curiosity comes a dazzling novel of World War II—a shimmering tale of courage, determination, optimism, and the resilience of the human spirit, set in a small Normandy village on the eve of D-Day.

On June 5, 1944, as dawn rises over a small town on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread that has sustained her fellow villagers in the dark days since the Germans invaded her country.

Only twenty-two, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at thirteen, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again.

In the years that her sleepy coastal village has suffered under the enemy, Emma has silently, stealthily fought back. Each day, she receives an extra ration of flour to bake a dozen baguettes for the occupying troops. And each day, she mixes that precious flour with ground straw to create enough dough for two extra loaves—contraband bread she shares with the hungry villagers. Under the cold, watchful eyes of armed soldiers, she builds a clandestine network of barter and trade that she and the villagers use to thwart their occupiers.

But her gift to the village is more than these few crusty loaves. Emma gives the people a taste of hope—the faith that one day the Allies will arrive to save them.

The Hummingbird: A Novel

William Morrow |
Fiction

From the author of the acclaimed The Curiosity comes a compelling and moving story of compassion, courage, and redemption.

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.

At the same time, Deborah’s primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons.

Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of loving commitment, service to country, and absolution through wisdom and forgiveness.

The Curiosity: A Novel

William Morrow |
Fiction

The Curiosity, Stephen Kiernan’s debut novel, is a gripping, poignant, and thoroughly original thriller that raises disturbing questions about the very nature of life and humanity—man as a scientific subject, as a tabloid plaything, as a living being, as a curiosity.…

Dr. Kate Philo and her scientific exploration team make a breathtaking discovery in the Arctic: the body of a man buried deep in the ice. Remarkably, the frozen man is brought back to the lab and successfully reanimated. As the man begins to regain his memories, the team learns that he was—is—a judge, Jeremiah Rice, and the last thing he remembers is falling overboard into the Arctic Ocean in 1906.

Thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, Kate and Jeremiah grow closer. But the clock is ticking and Jeremiah’s new life is slipping away…and all too soon, Kate must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the man she has come to love.

Authentic Patriotism: How to Restore America’s Ideals—Without Losing Our Tempers or Our Minds

St. Martin’s Griffin |
Nonfiction

A provocative, inspiring account of our neglected American ideals and the people who are living them today–and restoring our nation’s dream

Patriotism has become a loaded word: one that is wielded against people with whom we might disagree, or whose cultural origins don’t match our own.

But our founding fathers–Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and others–saw patriotism as a dynamic force: an act of service, in an evolving nation that defined its purpose by offering all people a better way of life.

In Authentic Patriotism, author and award-winning journalist Stephen P. Kiernan explores the original ideals that have been lost in our current climate, where war and economic turmoil have eroded our sense of civic obligation. Kiernan describes “a nation adrift,” out of touch with its origins–and then introduces a range of inspiring people who have revived our national purpose by taking action:

– The out-of-work college graduate who led an economic and environmental renewal of her blighted home community.

– The retired executive who pioneered a revolutionary concept in health care for people without insurance.

– The minister who created a legendary choir, with the goal of uniting children of different races, genders, and classes in one voice.

– The family who donated their daughter’s heart, so that another might live.

These and other “New Americans” are profiled in a book that offers hope, ideas, examples, and practical resources for readers who want to renew the American spirit.


Hospice, Advance Directives, Palliative Care

Taking Charge: How to Give Your Life a Bodacious Final Chapter

Now More Than Ever: The Need and Demand for Hospice

Morals and Bombs

Authentic Patriotism: How America Can Overcome Partisanship and Rancor to Repair the Civic Fabric

Stephen’s Upcoming Events

Stephen’s Music

Stephen’s News

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Scripps Howard Award Winner
George Polk Award Winner
Indiebound Indie Next Booksellers List

Media Kit

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