Finding a voice - creative writing for women (text graphic)

published works

Photograph of Angela Morgan Cutler
Auschwitz revised second edition
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click cover to view PDF edition of Auschwitz
Auschwitz

Book cover image for AuschwitzDESCRIPTION FROM BACK COVER. 'Auschwitz: a place where millions were killed and which thousands now visit each year. A mass grave—and a tourist destination. The focus of this work of autobiographical fiction is on the sightseers, the curious that are drawn to visit. It is a book that questions our need to look: what is there to uncover, other than the difficulty of peering into such a place and into a subject that has been obsessively documented, yet can never really be understood? How to write about Auschwitz in the twenty-first century, in a time when the last generation of survivors is soon to be lost?

This is also a book that searches for a personal story. It opens on a local bus that takes Angela, her husband En (whose mother survived the holocaust where most of her family did not) and their two sons to Auschwitz sixty years after the holocaust, and ends in a pine forest outside Minsk where En's grandparents were shot in May 1942. The backbone of Auschwitz is a series of emails between the author and acclaimed Franco-American writer Raymond Federman. At the age of 14, Federman (now approaching 80) was hastily thrust into the small upstairs closet of their Paris apartment by his mother just before she, his father and two sisters were taken to Auschwitz, where they were killed.

Federman also has spent a lifetime trying to find a language appropriate for the enormity of the holocaust and his part in its legacy, ultimately espousing laughterature—laughter as a means of survival. This beautiful, powerful and innovative work experiments with new forms—correspondence, reflections, dreams, a travelogue—that mirror the fragmentary legacy of the holocaust itself and, at the same time, capture its contradictions—and sometimes its absurdity.'

Essay on Auschwitz:  Making the Silence Speak (pdf file)
from Oxford Journals, FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES


 
REVIEWS
'Cutler's Auschwitz creates a category of its own ... undoubtedly a new voice of the post-Holocaust generations ... Her sophisticated and highly individual poetic style "shows the tracks of her labour" ... in an imaginative way and by doing so turns Cutler's debut into a superb novel on writing.'
Scottish Review of Books
'Cutler does not preach or patronise, and her ability to deliver impressively poetic prose means that she never compromises the subject-matter. Her voice is refreshing, shocking and commanding, and represents an exciting departure for contemporary fiction.'
New Welsh Review
‘Auschwitz stands like a tombstone for our civilisation. Angela Morgan Cutler has brilliantly infiltrated the borders of this landscape of desolation. Somehow she has found a voice that reflects the enormity of the horrors perpetuated there without being stifled by them. Unsentimental and richly worked … the words are more than mere messengers of thoughts and feelings – they glow with a life of their own … the whole package quite inimitable: the rarest quality in literature.’
Henry Woolf
‘Cutler writes like a British Hélène Cixous. Her invitation to visit with her the tourist attraction that modern-day Auschwitz has become is daring, shocking, profoundly moving – even, on occasion, funny. I loved its stylistic hybridity.’
Susan Sellers
‘When the story of the unspeakable has been told a thousand times, when the images of the unimaginable have been shown a thousand times, when the mind is numb - where do you go from there? You have to start anew. That is what Angela Morgan Cutler has done.’
Rex Bloomstein
'Beautifully written – and I LOVE the Joan Rivers dream!'
Joan Rivers

The Letter Purchase from Amazon

Book cover - The LetterDESCRIPTION FROM BACK COVER.Following on from the success of her first book, Auschwitz, Angela Morgan Cutler offers us another 'novel' that defies easy definition or assignment to a fixed genre. The Letter creates its own category. It takes the form of a reply to the anonymous author of a threat letter that was sent to the narrator's husband, En. Instead of the natural response, to freeze or lose language in reaction to such a threat, the book releases a voice that faces the anonymous other who wrote it; a continuous, digressive reply that winds its way through daily observations, reminiscences and reflections that succeed in creating a distance from the potential violence imposed on the family.

The Letter is also an affirmation of home and of the restorative power of storytelling as the book flips between the UK - in the days and weeks that follow the arrival of the letter, with all the paranoia and imaginative leaps that fear evokes—and Spain, months later, when the threat begins to subside. Interspersed throughout the text are accounts of other people's stories—examples of written threats they too have received—and interviews with others caught up in the event: family, friends, a police officer, a postman, a counsellor; all sharing their own perspectives on the process of being threatened, bullied, or stalked. The Letter is a response to a threat that can never be sent: there is no return address. And yet, the narrator's reply to the unknown author of the threat remains as a powerful trace of the experience, and a testament to so many stories left untold.

 
REVIEWS
‘Nerve-wracking, The Letter will have you on the edge of your seat. Scary and involving, it’s a brave and unexpected book that makes you think about the nature of the imagination itself.’
Jackie Kay
'The Letter is inimitable. No one I know writes like Cutler: so uncontrived, so unself-indulgent, so observant of character, of people, of the places we find ourselves in, the things that surround us. Such a flow of words, but not just any old words. The right words. They don’t swamp the reader, we float on them. Our awareness is nourished by their unaffected honesty, their straightforwardness.'
Henry Woolf