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Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

Dean Bakopoulos - The Reason Life is So Strange: Some Thoughts on Options

  • April 29, 2021
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Remote


Registration is closed

Remote Session (out of town speaker, so this session will be remote only)

In this lecture, I’ll explain the all the reasons that life is so strange (hat-tip to William Maxwell’s “The reason life is so strange is that so often people have no choice.”) After that, we’ll examine the energy that options, or a lack of them, can bring to dramatic narratives. lyric essays, and confessional poems. You don’t need to read anything ahead of time, but we’ll likely look at excerpts from the novels “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid, “Salvage The Bones” by Jesmyn Ward, and “The Secret History" by Donna Tartt, as well as poems by Danez Smith, Paige Lewis, and Louise Gluck. You don’t need to read all these texts ahead of time, because some of this is subject to change. Let’s keep our options open.

Bio: Dean Bakopoulos is an author from Detroit, Michigan. He is an assistant professor of English at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Dean’s third novel, Summerlong, was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June 2015. He is currently at work on a nonfiction book called Undoing, as well as a screenplay and a television pilot. Dean’s first novel, Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon (Harcourt, 2005), was a New York Times Notable Book; his screenplay adaptation of the novel is being developed for the screen by James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini productions; His second novel, My American Unhappiness, published in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, was named one of the year’s best novels by The Chicago Tribune. He received his BA from the University of Michigan and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to teaching fiction and creative nonfiction workshops at Grinnell, Dean has taught creative writing at UW-Madison, Iowa State University, and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. The winner of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Dean also reviews books for The New York Times Book Review and ​the San Francisco Chronicle.

We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at for details.

9:00-9:30 Socializing 

9:30-12:00  Program

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