Bakis was raised in Westchester County, New York, and graduated from New York University in 1990. She is a recipient of a Teaching/Writing Fellowship from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, a grant from the Michener/Copernicus Society of America.
She has taught at Hampshire College and was a writer-in-residence at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York in 2005. She is currently living in Croton-on-Hudson, New York with her husband, their two children, and two dogs, and is at work on her second novel.
Lives of the Monster Dogs received mostly positive reviews. Critics praised it for its originality, while also noting some of its drawbacks as science fiction.
- 2004 Whiting Award for fiction
- New York Times Notable Book for the year, for Lives of the Monster Dogs
- Orange Prize for Fiction shortlisted, for Lives of the Monster Dogs
- Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel, for Lives of the Monster Dogs
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