Christopher Bakken, Program Director

Program Director, 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 & OrangesGoat 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 ReviewPloughsharesNew England ReviewThe 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 twice served as a Fulbright Scholar, at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki and at the University of Bucharest, and he is currently the 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.

Natalie Bakopoulos (on sabbatical 2024)

Natalie Bakopoulos is the author of the forthcoming novel Scorpionfish (Tin House, 2020) and the novel The Green Shore (Simon & Schuster, 2012). Her work has appeared in Tin House, VQR, The Iowa Review, The New York Times, Granta, Ploughshares, O. Henry Prize Stories, and various other publicationsShe received her MFA from the University of Michigan, has received fellowships from the Sozopol Fiction Seminars and from the Camargo, Can Cab, and MacDowell foundations. She was a 2015 Fulbright fellow in Athens and is currently an assistant professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Joanna Eleftheriou

Joanna Eleftheriou


Joanna Eleftheriou is author of the essay collection This Way Back (West Virginia University Press, 2020)Her poems and essays appear in Bellingham Review, Arts and Letters, and Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle America. She has studied at Cornell University, the Center for Ottoman, Byzantine, and Modern Greek Studies in Birmingham (UK), and the University of Missouri, where she earned a doctorate in creative writing. A contributing editor at Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, book reviews editor at The Journal of Modern Greek Studies, and a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Joanna serves as assistant professor of English at Christopher Newport University.



Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil  is the author of the New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays and Kirkus Prize finalist, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments (2020, Milkweed Editions), which was chosen as Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Year. She has four previous poetry collections: Oceanic (Copper Canyon Press, 2018), Lucky Fish (2011), At the Drive-In Volcano (2007), and Miracle Fruit (2003), the last three from Tupelo Press.  Honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, a Mississippi Arts Council grant, and being named a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. In 2021, she became the first-ever poetry editor for Sierra magazine, the story-telling arm of The Sierra Club. She is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.



Courtney Zoffness

Courtney Zoffness is the author of Spilt Milk: Memoirs (McSweeney’s 2021), named “most anticipated” or “must-read” book by LitHub, Refinery29, The Millions, Good Morning America, and others. Zoffness won the 2018 Sunday Times Short Story Award, the largest international prize for short fiction, amid entries from 38 countries. Other honors include fellowships from the Center for Fiction and MacDowell, and the Arts & Letters Creative Nonfiction Prize. Her writing has appeared in several outlets, including the New York Times, the Paris Review Daily, and Guernica. She directs the Creative Writing Program at Drew University, and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.