Alice Sebold Taught Me How to Write Fiction

Sometimes I am so out of it, I shock myself.

Alice Sebold taught fiction writing at Hunter college in the early 90s, but I didn’t realize until last night that Alice is now the bestselling author of The Lovely Bones  and Lucky. She was one of my favorite teachers.

The last time I spoke with Alice she was leaving NYC to be the resident writer at some sort of writing retreat in California.  She said she had just discovered she  would be getting less than $500 a month in salary and wanted to know  what I thought. I said, “It could be worse.” I am so glad I didn’t say  something caustic. From her Wikipedia entry, it looks like she went from the  retreat to University of California: Irvine and the rest is–as they say–history.

I have no excuse for why I lost track of Alice until last night. For the past two years I have read primarily memoir and have even fingered the spine of her memoir, Lucky, in the book store. Somehow I just didn’t put it together. I am very happy. Success couldn’t have happened to a more deserving writer than Alice Sebold. I am also going to include her name prominently on all my future submissions: Tim Elhajj studied with Alice Sebold.

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5 thoughts on “Alice Sebold Taught Me How to Write Fiction

  1. […] Instead I feel uncomfortable, especially in the little receiving line to get my book signed. Even though I know Alice, last night was no […]

  2. […] Instead I feel uncomfortable, especially in the little receiving line to get my book signed. Even though I know Alice, last night was no […]

  3. Jerry Waxler says:

    Wow. This is cool. And did you know that Alice Sebold studied with Tobias Wolff? (She mentions this lineage in her memoir Lucky.) Some say that Wolff’s “This Boy’s Life” was the first salvo in the Memoir Revolution, so that makes you a son of the revolution. And since I have read memoirs by Wolff, Sebold, and you, I wonder if that makes me a son as well. One of my first blog posts, dated July, 2007 is about Sebold’s Lucky so I figure we go way back. Here’s a link to the post:

    Memory Writers Network

  4. Tim Elhajj says:

    I did know that Alice studied with Wolff. She turned me onto This Boy’s Life and I found so it inspiring. His book was one of the biggest influences during my years in college and probably one of the reason I’m so interested in memoir today.

  5. […] characters with equally complex challenges. I was especially lucky to have good teachers, like Alice Sebold (author of THE LOVELY BONES), who shared frankly with me about her own experience with heroin. If […]

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