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Dean Bakopoulos was born and raised in metro Detroit, which is the setting of his first novel, Please Don't Come Back from the Moon (Harcourt), a New York Times Notable Book. He has lectured at Michigan, Cornell, UW-Madison, and other universities about the economic and environmental problems facing the post-industrial Rust Belt, and has published related essays and criticism in The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, The Progressive, The Believer, and Real Simple. His one-act plays "Phonies" and "Wayside" have been produced at Alley Stage in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.
The winner of a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2006 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Dean is a professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University. He is the former director of both the Wisconsin Book Festival and the Wisconsin Humanities Council. He received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and his B.A. in creative writing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is currently at work on a book of nonfiction, as well as a television series based on his first novel. His second novel, My American Unhappiness, was published in June 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.