Monday, April 9, 2018
Alice Sebold, best selling author and memoirist, was raped while a student at Syracuse University and subsequently successfully prosecuted her assailant. She will draw from that personal experience to speak to the idea that it is not just the victims of sexual assault—found in every gender, ethnicity, age group, and social class—that suffer in a world where sex crimes are increasingly common place, but all of us. Though not shying away from the grim realities of the present, Sebold's goal is to provide hope by working to dismantle the antiquated and destructive divisions that still exist among us and to inspire a more open dialogue.
Despite its dark subjects of rape, child murder, and the dissolution of families, Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones was one of the best-reviewed novels of the '00s. The book, which was later adapted for cinema, quickly became an unprecedented international bestseller, with translations in over 45 languages and American sales alone of over five million copies. Three months after the publication of The Lovely Bones, Sebold’s 1999 memoir Lucky, an account of her rape at the age of 18 and the trial that followed, also rose to number one on The New York Times bestseller list.
The Almost Moon, Sebold's 2007 controversial second novel, another #1 bestseller, generated more critical discord—both laudatory and negative—as Sebold plunged into taboo territories of matricide, mental illness, and profound ambivalence about mother/daughter relationships.
Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Sebold grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended Syracuse University as well as the University of Houston and UC Irvine. She has contributed to numerous anthologies and edited The Best American Short Stories 2009.
Ms. Sebold's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.
Photo credit: Becky Sapp