Alice Sebold (born September 6, 1963) is an American novelist. She has published three books: Lucky (1999), The Lovely Bones (2002) and The Almost Moon (2007). Sebold was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and graduated from Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pennsylvania in 1980. She then enrolled in Syracuse University. She was raped while walking home through a park off campus. She reported the crime to the police, who remarked that a young woman had once been murdered in the same location.
Sebold returned home to Pennsylvania to live with her family for the summer before beginning her sophomore year at Syracuse. After some months at home Sebold returned to Syracuse to finish her bachelor's degree and to study writing. Months later, while walking down a street near the Syracuse campus, she recognized her rapist and reported him to police; she later testified against him, and he received the maximum sentence.
Following graduation from Syracuse, Sebold went to the University of Houston in Texas for graduate school. She did not complete her graduate studies, but fell into drugs. Then she moved to Manhattan and lived there for 10 years. She held several jobs as a waitress and tried to pursue her writing career. Sebold wanted to write her story through poetry, but that, and attempts at writing a novel, did not come to fruition. She used heroin recreationally for two years, though claims she never became addicted. Sebold recounted her substance abuse to students at an Evening of Fiction workshop by saying that, "I did a lot of things that I am not particularly proud of and that I can’t believe that I did."
Sebold left the city and moved to Southern California, where she became a caretaker of an arts colony, earning $386 a month and living in a cabin in the woods without electricity. She would write under a propane lamp. In 1995, Sebold applied to graduate school at University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Alice Sebold's first published book, many years in the making, was a memoir of her rape as an eighteen-year-old college freshman. She later returned to Syracuse University, the scene of the rape, and finished her degree.<specify> She studied writing, and wanted to write her story then, but kept failing. "I wrote tons of bad poetry about it and a couple of bad novels about it--lots of bad stuff," Sebold told Dennis McLellan of the Los Angeles Times. She explained to McLellan why the novels were not successful: "I felt the burden of trying to write a story that would encompass all rape victims' stories and that immediately killed the idea of this individual character in the novel. So <the novels> tended to be kind of fuzzy and bland, and I didn't want to make any political missteps."