Dean Bakopoulos

Dean Bakopoulos

Dean Bakopoulos was born in Dearborn Heights, Michigan on July 6, 1975 to a Ukrainian mother and a Greek father. A child of immigrants, he grew up speaking both Ukrainian and English, was shy to the point of psychosis, and avoided group gatherings and rarely left his mother’s side. He ate copious amounts of borscht and cabbage rolls. When his grandfather, Gregory Smolij, retired from 25 years on the line at Ford Rouge, there was a large party in his grandparents’ basement. This is Dean’s first memory and, in it, his family was brilliantly happy and jubilant. He memorized the 1981 NFL records book and recited football stats to all willing ears. When Chuck Long made his first start for the Detroit Lions, he was allowed to stay up and watch Monday Night Football. He wrote his first short story at age seven. It was called “I Get Trapped.”At puberty, he suddenly became very outgoing. Nobody could shut him up. He was either maniacally optimistic or indefatigably sullen in his demeanor; he wept far too often for a young man. A wimp! A sensitive little wimp! During high school, he recalls only one broken heart (she knows who she is), two fistfights, and an embarrassingly earnest desire to drink enough to be the next Hemingway. He went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and, while in school, worked as a writer for WWJ News Radio in Detroit. After graduating in 1997, he got married, moved to Wisconsin, worked on a horse farm for a spell (the best job he ever had), and then became the buyer for Canterbury Booksellers, which once was a bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin but is no longer one.Later, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin MFA program, was a Tennessee Williams scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and finished his first novel, Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon (Harcourt), which has just been released. After a year of steady training at a place called the Monkey Bar, he was able to do a surprisingly high number of push-ups and chin-ups. In 2004, the Virginia Quarterly Review included him in an issue announcing Fiction’s New Luminaries. This made him happy for months. You would not guess it, but a very famous American poet once called him (in all seriousness) a “youthful, effervescent dancer” after a gathering at the Breadloaf Writers' Conference. This has made him happy for years. When he does not get enough sleep, he is not worth knowing or being near. He lives in Mineral Point, Wisconsin with his family.

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