As Monday came to a close, Hodges Library not only welcomed students hitting the books after their short fall break, but also played host to novelist Natalie Bakopoulos debuting her new book, "The Green Shore."
This visit was highlighted in Ready for the World's fall lineup and was co-sponsored by Writers in the Library.
Set in the late 1960s, Bakopoulos offers a fictional approach to a very non-fictional uprising. Channeling this history through the developing story of a woman and her two daughters, Bakopoulos illustrates the political, societal and economic changes in Greece as it became the grounds for unrest and rebellion among the people.
Bakopoulos read three excerpts from her work, giving listeners a brief taste of the action, romance and drama that fills the pages.
In the time she allowed for questions, she explained some of the surprises she discovered when researching the history.
"Right in the center of Athens, there was this building that was the detention center where people would just get brought in and get tortured right in there," Bakopoulos said. "But it was the center of a neighborhood, a really busy area, and the screams were so loud. So they ran motorcycle engines all day long to drown out the sounds ... that was kind of horrifying."
While teaching full-time and working in "spurts" of condensed writing time and periodic writing hiatuses, "The Green Shore" is the product of around seven years of work.
"(It was) pretty consistent over seven years. But every so often, I'd have to back away like, 'Step away from the machine, you're too drunk to drive,'" she said.
Bakopoulos laughed when asked how many hours it took her to complete the book.
"I don't think I like thinking about how many hours because I'll get depressed," she said.
Bakopoulos's reading addressed the beginning of the 1960s turmoil in Greece, giving the attendees a historical, as well as a literary, experience.
"I like that she used a true story and intertwined it with fictional characters," Courtney Seward, undecided freshman, said. "I went in without the book, not knowing much about it. But now I definitely want to read it."
She tied fiction with reality by creating a story inside of history, two categories which share some similarities as she noted when asked about her method of separating the fiction from the nonfiction.
"I kept thinking of Aristotle's poetics when he says the role of the poet or poetry, or fiction in this case, is not did it happen, but could it have happened, because I think fiction is creating its own history next to the real one," Bakopoulos said.
While her resume, which includes being a contributing editor for FictionWritersReview.com, is extensive, "The Green Shore" is her debut novel and has received critical acclaim. As stated in The Chicago Tribune, "Bakapoulos has an enormous heart, and she is a writer to watch."
Bakopoulos is both a graduate of and current professor at the University of Michigan.