Christopher Bakken, Program Director

Photo by Kelly Gorney

Christopher Bakken, is the author of the culinary memoir, Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table, as well as three books of poetry, Eternity & Oranges, Goat Funeral and After Greece. He is also co-translator of The Lions’ Gate: Selected Poems of Titos Patrikios. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Iowa Review, and Best American Poetry 2016. Bakken holds a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from University of Houston, and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Columbia University. He has served as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bucharest and is currently Department Chair and Frederick F. Seely Professor of English at Allegheny College. Bakken won Food & Wine Magazine’s Best Burger Contest in 2005 and has cooked live on the CBS Saturday Morning Early Show. He organizes an organic produce cooperative out of his garage in Pennsylvania.

Honey, Olives, Octopus

David Mason reviews Honey, Olives, Octopus in the Wall Street Journal

Hunting for Octopus and Cooking for Michael Pollan: An Interview with Christopher Bakken

Pod-chat about where to eat in Greece with Seth @ Taste Trekkers

Eternity & Oranges, Pitt Poetry Series

Nonfiction Workshop

Join a small community of writers for a month of literary exchanges, culinary adventure, and off-the-beaten track travel in Greece. Our host island is a local food paradise, where concepts like “local” and “sustainable” are simple facts of life: to supply their restaurant, the owners of our pension catch their own fish each morning, raise their own lamb and goats, and grow many of their own vegetables. Dishes are cooked each morning in a massive wood oven.

We will read several books and essays together and will offer one another feedback in a workshop format. Some participants come with projects already underway and others rely on the island to trigger new writing. Inspiration will not be in short supply. The workshop is open to work in any genre.

Visiting writers and faculty will offer readings on weeknights and Wednesday nights will feature local musicians and dancing around the olive tree at the pension. In addition, excursions around the island will allow participants to experience hands-on encounters with traditional island agriculture and gastronomy. These might include:

  • wildflower island honey
  • fishing off the whirlpools of Bambouras
  • preparing traditional sourdough with wild yeast starter
  • octopus hunting in Aliki bay
  • making local goat cheese
  • cooking demonstrations in the restaurant of Pension Archontissa
  • wood-oven pizza

Seafood Lesson