Kirk W. Johnson


Kirk W. JohnsonKirk W. 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. 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, along with thousands of American volunteers that help resettled Iraqis with “everything from retooling resumes to finding furniture.” 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 second book, about the natural history heist of the century, will be published by Viking in the spring of 2018.

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

Kirk can be reached at