Lucy Grealy (1963-2002) was born in Dublin, Ireland. She moved to Spring
Valley, New York, with her family when she was four years old. When she was
nine she was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. Surgery to remove a tumor also resulted in the removal of part of her
jaw, leaving her disfigured and fated to endless reconstruction operations. She
underwent years of chemotherapy and radiation, and multiple plastic surgery
operations almost up to the time of her death. As a teenager in Spring Valley,
she endured insults and ostracism but at Sarah Lawrence College in the
mid-1980s, she discovered poetry as a vehicle for her pent-up emotions and after
earning her BA, went on to earn a Masters in Fine Arts in Poetry from the Iowa
Writers Workshop. Her poetry appeared in a number of
magazines, including The Paris Review and The London Times Literary Supplement.
After living abroad for several years (West Berlin, London and Aberdeen), during which time she underwent further plastic surgery, she returned to the states in 1991 to take on a Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass., and then went on to be a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She also taught at the New School for Social Research's MFA in the Creative Writing Program, and also at Bennington College in Vermont.
Her autobiography grew out of an essay published in Harper's in 1993, which won a National Magazine Award. Her second book, a collection of essays titled As Seen on TV, was published in 2000.
She died of an accidental drug overdose in 2002.
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