By Charlie Greenwald
Grasping at straws while trying to remember things from 2002, this year’s undergraduate commencement speaker and acclaimed novelist Alice Sebold was reportedly having difficultly drawing on her experience writing The Lovely Bones, her 2002 bestseller.
“It wasn’t too too long ago – come on, Alice, come up with something,” Sebold muttered to herself, staring blankly at her computer. “How did these characters pop into your head? THINK!”
Sebold is well-known in the literary community, if not a household name among the average person. She has written three books: Lucky, a brave memoir based on her own traumatic experiences of sexual assault, harrowing thriller The Lovely Bones, her big hit, and murder-mystery The Almost Moon, which most critics agreed was a middling follow-up. She was announced last week as this year’s undergraduate commencement speaker after months of speculation.
“I have an amazing personal story of strength and resolve, and I can tap into that — but come on, you need to be able to take them through the journey of writing a bestseller, too,” Sebold grumbled as she paced along her kitchen floor, thinking of texting Peter Jackson to provide her with some stories from filming the 2009 movie version of the story. “These people need to know I’m still a massive success in the publishing world!”
At press time, Sebold was on a three-way phone call with graduate speaker Danielle Legros Georges and last year’s undergraduate speaker Robin Roberts, who was imparting wisdom to the new recruits and telling them to “prepare something in advance,” if they had time.