Hamline News

New Release from MFA Student Kimberly J. Brown

Kimberly Brown 375

The I-35W Bridge Collapse: A Survivor’s Account of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure by Kimberly J. Brown (Current MFA)

Published by Potomac Books
July 2018

Visit Kimberly’s website
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“A bridge shouldn’t just fall down,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said after the August 1, 2007, collapse of the Minneapolis I-35W eight-lane steel truss bridge, which killed 13 motorists, injured 145, and left a collective wound on the city’s psyche and infrastructure.

On her way to a soccer game with a fellow teammate, Kimberly J. Brown experienced the collapse firsthand, falling 114 feet in her teammate’s car to the Mississippi River. Although terrified, injured, and in shock, she survived. In this sobering memoir and exposé, Brown recounts her harrowing experience.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Brown became both an advocate for survivors and an unofficial whistle-blower about decaying infrastructure. She details her investigation and correspondence with Thornton Tomasetti engineers, including the false official account of the collapse and the eventual revelation of its real causes. In addition, she chronicles the ongoing decay of America’s bridges and the continuing challenges faced by leaders to address infrastructure problems across the country.

After nearly a decade of research into the collapse and her active and ongoing recovery from psychic and physical injuries, Brown shares her experience and answers the questions we should all be asking: Why did this bridge collapse? And what could have been done to prevent this tragedy? 

Read an excerpt here.


“All over the country people were shocked and horrified as we watched the bridge fall. Most of us went on with our lives, but Kimberly Brown’s first-person account as witness and survivor of the bridge collapse takes us deep into the emotional terrain of that day, and the years that followed; she also shares with her readers her investigation into the causes. A riveting story, powerfully told.”
—Deborah Keenan, retired creative writing program faculty emeritus at Hamline University and author of Willow Room, Green Door: New and Selected Poems

“This is the most important book you will read this year. Kimberly Brown gets us by the collar and doesn’t let us turn away, writing with lyric power about her experience surviving the I-35W bridge collapse. Her urgent search for the truth behind the 2007 collapse is mirrored by her own collapse and a revelatory portrait of living with PTSD. . .. How she repairs and what she uncovers will, justly, keep you up at night.”
—Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery

“Brown tells an honest and compelling story. . . . Throughout, Brown makes a passionate plea to lawmakers and citizens nationwide to pay attention to our country’s deteriorating bridges.”
—Lynne Diebel, author of Crossing the Driftless

Pioneer Press feature on “The I-35W Bridge Collapse”


Book Launch Event for “The I-35W Bridge Collapse”
When: Thursday, July 12 at 7:00 PM
Where: Magers & Quinn Booksellers
             3038 Hennepin Avenue
             Minneapolis, MN 55408

For more information, visit the event page here.

Reading Event for “The I-35W Bridge Collapse” at Hamline University
When: Wednesday, August 1 at 7:00 PM
Where: Hamline University
             (Klas Center - Kay Fredricks Ballroom on the 3rd floor)
             1537 W Taylor Ave
             St. Paul, MN 55104

--August 1st at 6:05 PM is the 11th anniversary of the bridge collapse.
--Books will be available for sale from Common Good Books.
--A Hamline University campus map is available here.
--Free parking is available on the street or in campus lots (with the exception of the faculty lot).

For more information, visit the event page here.

Reading Event for “The I-35W Bridge Collapse” at SubText Books
When: Thursday, August 16 at 7:00 PM
Where: SubText Books
             6 5th St W
             St. Paul, MN 55102

Join SubText Books in the store on Thursday, August 16th at 7:00 PM for a reading with Kimberly J. Brown for her book “The I-35W Bridge Collapse: A Survivor's Account of America's Crumbling Infrastructure." Book signing to follow.

For more information, visit the event page here.

Congratulations, Kimberly!