Kirk Wallace Johnson is the founder of the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies and the author of  The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century, which has been named one of Amazon’s top books of 2018 in non-fiction, an Amazon Best Book of 2018 and 2019 nominee for the Edgar, the Gold Dagger, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal.  It was listed as one of the 25 best true-crime books of all time by Oprah, and was the focus of a This American Life episode. He also wrote To Be a Friend is Fatal: the Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times,the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. 

The List Project helped more than 2,000 US-affiliated Iraqis find refuge in America by partnering with top law firms to provide pro bono legal assistance. Johnson’s work was featured on 60 Minutes, This American Life, and the documentary film The List.

Prior to the List Project, Johnson served in Iraq with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Baghdad and then Fallujah as the Agency’s first coordinator for reconstruction in the war-torn city. He has received fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin, Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Wurlitzer Foundation. Prior to his work in Iraq, he conducted research on political Islamism as a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt. Born and raised in West Chicago, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

His most recent book, The Fishermen and the Dragon, is about a clash between Vietnamese refugees and the Ku Klux Klan along the Texas Gulf Coast in the early 1980s, was published by Viking in 2022.

As a senior fellow, Johnson’s writing and leadership experience will be a welcome addition to CCLP.

Kirk can be reached at