Just like you, I do many things. Most recently, I founded Novel Readings, a company that uses the performance of literary text to produce social justice events and help writers develop their work. I have been working as a professional director since I graduated from the Juilliard School’s (now-defunct, through no fault of my own) Directing Program. In 2014, I published my first novel, One Man Guy (Macmillan, FSG) and its stand-alone sequel, Hold My Hand, in 2019. My next book, These Precious Stones, a queer protag YA contemporary epic fantasy, will be out in 2024.
I am an avid board-game player, food-lover and maker, and recipient of the 2012 Most Improved Player Award for the New York Ramblers, the world’s first openly-gay soccer league.
I believe that art nourishes the soul the way food does the body, that in the age of specialization we must fight extra-hard to prevent ourselves from being pigeonholed, and that love is the answer.
photo credit: Aydin Arjomand
“A love sandwich of Armenian-American culture and romantic anguish with extra kissing and a side of LGBTQ+ empowerment. So. Much. Fun.”
“Barakiva (One Man Guy, 2014) creates an engaging central couple whom readers will root for and smartly surrounds them with a flawless cast."
Michael Barakiva was born in Haifa, Israel to an Israeli father and Armenian mother. When he was five, his family moved to the suburbs of New Jersey, which were much scarier. He attended Vassar College, where he doubled in Drama and English. Upon graduation, his intention was to blind himself and wander the countryside reciting The Odyssey in Ancient Greek, but he didn't know Ancient Greek, so instead he attended the Juilliard School as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Directing.
He has lived in over 35 apartments in New York City, directed off-Broadway and regionally, routinely cooked dinner for 100+, practiced Iyengar Yoga for almost a decade, and loves backgammon and his husband Rafael.
His first novel, One Man Guy, was named to the Rainbow List, Equality Family Council Reading List, and spent over a year as Goodreads #1 LGBTQ YA Novel, and was named as one of Barnes and Nobles' Perfect Valentine's Day YA Novels 2017 list. The stand-alone sequel, Hold My Hand, was published in 2019, both with Macmillan (FSG). His third book, These Precious Stones, is due for publication in 2022.
He is the founding Artistic Director of The Upstart Creatures, a not-for-profit theatre company based in New York City that presents (meta)physical feasts, feeding bodies and souls and the founder and Creative Director of Novel Readings, a company that helps writers develop their work by having professional actors perform it for them.