Sandell Morse—The Spiral Shell: A Double Journey, One Outward, One Inward

May 12, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm
Salem Athenaeum—Online
337 Essex St.
MA 01970
Suggested Donation: $10 members, $15 non-members
Salem Athenaeum

The Spiral Shell: A French Village Reveals Its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II

There are times in each of our lives when we make a journey that takes us beyond the physical place we’ve ventured in order to reveal a different, greater sense of ourselves and our place in history. For author Sandell Morse what started out as a research project became an unexpected rediscovery of identity and faith. In this haunting memoir, she uncovers long silenced stories of bravery and resistance among the civilians of a small town in France during WWII, and in turn finds deeper meaning and understanding of her own Jewish heritage. After the war, as the author describes, “truth went underground” and the stories of those who resisted and escaped were left buried and unheard. Morse gradually befriended and gained the trust of several individuals who shared their stories of bravery and resistance during that harrowing time. In a narrative that unfolds and overlaps both past and present, the author in turn discovers truths about her own life and Jewish history, denied her in childhood, and that she now more fully comprehends in light of the brave and selfless actions of those who chose to fight against bigotry, oppression, and genocide.

Sandell Morse is the prize-winning author of the memoir, The Spiral Shell, A French Village Reveals Its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II (Schaffner Press, April 2020). Morse’s nonfiction has been noted in The Best American Essays series and published in Creative Nonfiction, Ploughshares, the New England Review, Fourth Genre ASCENT, Solstice, and Tiferet among others. The Spiral Shell is shortlisted for the Story Circle Sarton Award.

Morse has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, a resident at the Hewnoaks Artists’ Colony, and a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She holds degrees from Wilson College, the University of New Hampshire, and Dartmouth College.


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