Get Lit with All Of It: Brit Bennett
Get Lit with All Of It
Originally Aired: Thursday, October 1, 2020
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Watch a live video stream as Alison Stewart, host of WNYC’s All of It, continues her virtual book club series with acclaimed author Brit Bennett. They’ll discuss her novel, The Vanishing Half, a New York Times best-seller about identical twin sisters growing up in a southern Black community and their lives decades later after fate has pulled them apart. Allyson Hobbs, writer and Director of African and African American Studies at Stanford University, joins Bennett and Stewart to illuminate some of the issues that the novel touches on. Viewers are encouraged to submit their questions for the author on Twitter and Instagram.
Plus, Alison will be joined by Aloe Blacc for an exclusive musical performance.
How it Works
Credit: Photo by Emma Trim.
Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction. In 2014, she received the Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers.
She is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, and her debut novel The Mothers was a New York Times bestseller. Her second novel The Vanishing Half was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. Her essays have been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
Join Alison Stewart, host of WNYC’s All Of It, alongside bestselling authors and fellow book lovers on the air and online for this new book club series. We’ll read books and share our progress on Instagram, and Alison will talk with a marquee author during a live video stream event.
We know that New Yorkers need to feel a sense of community and fun, even as we remain apart. And that’s why we are excited to announce that the New York Public Library is partnering with WNYC to present a virtual stay-at-home book club experience!
Allyson Hobbs is an Associate Professor of American History, the Director of African and African American Studies, and the Kleinheinz Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. She is a contributing writer to The New Yorker and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post. Allyson’s first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for the best first book in American history and the Lawrence Levine Prize for the best book in American cultural history. The book was also selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2014, a “Best 15 Nonfiction Books by Black Authors in 2014” by The Root, a featured book in the New York Times Book Review Paperback Row in 2016, and a Paris Review “What Our Writers Are Reading This Summer” Selection in 2017.
Aloe Blacc grew up in a family of Panamanian immigrants in Southern California. As a child, he was surrounded by the sounds of salsa, merengue, and cumbia. Across three albums, Blacc has paid homage to that musical heritage, and to American soul, with powerful lyrics and soul-stirring vocals. His upcoming album, All Love Everything, is the singer-songwriter’s first collection of material written as a father.
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