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Alice Sebold
Years: 6 September 1963
Description:
Sebold was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where her father taught Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania. Sebold graduated from Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, in 1980. In the early hours of May 8, 1981, while a freshman at Syracuse University, she was raped while walking home through a park off campus. Her attacker dragged her into a tunnel and severely sodomized her, urinated on her, and brutally beat her.[1] She reported the crime to the police, who took her statement will investigated, but could not identify any suspects.Sebold returned home to Massasuchets for several months before returning to Syracuse to finish her bachelor's degree and study writing. On October 5, 1981, while walking down a street near the Syracuse campus, she recognized her rapist.She notified police and testified against the rapist in court; he was convicted of rape and sodomy, and sentenced to eight to 25 years. Her attacker is out of prison now, but Sebold says she has not kept track of his whereabouts.
Following graduation from Syracuse in 1984, Sebold briefly attended the University of Houston in Texas, for graduate school, then moved to Manhattan for the next ten years. She held several waitressing jobs while pursuing a writing career, but neither her poetry nor her attempts at writing a novel came to fruition. She also began using heroin recreationally.Sebold recounted her substance abuse to students at an Evening of Fiction workshop by saying: "I did a lot of things that I am not particularly proud of and that I can’t believe that I did."
Sebold left New York for Southern California, where she became a caretaker of an artists' colony, earning $386 a month and living in a cabin in the woods without electricity. She ultimately obtained an MFA from the University of California, Irvine in 1998.
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