Rachel Cusk, born in 1967 in Saskatoon, Canada, grew up in Los Angeles. In 1974, her family moved to Great Britain. Cusk studied English at the New College at Oxford University. She later worked for a London literary agency and traveled to Spain and Latin America.
In 1993, she released her first novel »Saving Agnes«, for which she won the Whitbread First Novel Award. She received the Somerset Maugham Award for her second novel »The Country Life« (1997), in which 29-year-old Stella, a newly married law trainee, suddenly decides to leave London and take a service job with a wealthy family in Sussex. With fast-paced dialogue and situational humor, Cusk depicts how unsuited Stella is for both the job as well as for rural life. Cusk takes a completely different tone in »Arlington Park« (2006), which describes a day in the life of an affluent family in a London suburb with screaming children, marriage frustrations, and worries about the future. »The Bradshaw Variations« (2009) is another family portrait in which the protagonists are sickened by how they get lost in excessive reflection and feel no joy despite having wealth, careers, and children. Cusk’s trilogy of »the female odyssey through the 21st century«, comprised of »Outline« (2014), »Transit« (2016) and »Kudos« (2018), is a narrative project about life as a divorced woman, single mother, writer, and person. »Outline« is the psychological portrait of an author who teaches a writing course in Athens in summer, where she is confronted with the participants’ life stories – stories of desires, fears, love, and loss. »Transit« depicts a woman who, after separating from her husband, tries to find her bearings in a new life situation and new environment and rediscover herself by thinking about past relationships and experiences as well as meeting new people. In »Kudos«, a writer finds herself on a speaking tour for her new book after a failed relationship and searches for answers to questions of identity, the retraceability of family, the responsibility to one’s self, and others. »As an author, I feel obliged to pull back into an autobiographical form that refuses to indulge a made-up, fake representation of reality.«
In addition to her literary works, Cusk has also written non-fiction books. In »A Life’s Work« (2001) she soberly describes her experiences as a mother, while »Aftermath« (2012) is about her divorce from the English photographer Adrian Clarke. Cusk lives in London and Norfolk.