Her computer, two small lamps, and a stack of books that include Eyewitness Greece and The Rape of Greece rest on the massive IKEA kitchen table she uses as her desk. She took down the map of Athens that hung above it after she finished writing her first novel, The Green Shore, which came out in June. Bakopoulos used pushpins to track the movements of her characters, a widow and her children, during and after the 1967 military coup d'etat.
Bakopoulos has taught Modern Greek and writing at U-M since earning her MFA in fiction here in 2005; her short story, "Fresco, Byzantine," won an O. Henry Award in 2010. "I used to work in coffeehouses," she says, "but this space tucked up in the back of the house gives me the room I need and makes me feel cozy. I like being able to look out the window at the yard and to take a walk outside." She typically starts writing at five a.m. "My husband and the rest of the world are asleep and the house is mine."
She admits that she is not a particularly visual person and that her husband prompted the addition of most of the artwork on her walls. One oil painting, though, is hers: her grandparents bought it in the 1940s from a street vendor.
An old school desk purchased from Craigslist, next to a utilitarian file cabinet, holds an array of perfumes and makeup and a floral hatbox. "I also use this as my dressing room," Bakopoulos says.