Brit Bennett

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Brit Bennett
Born1989/1990 (age 31–32)
Oceanside, California
EducationStanford University B.A. English
University of Michigan M.F.A.
Notable works"I Don't Know What to Do With Good White People" (2014)

The Mothers (2016)

The Vanishing Half (2020)

Brit Bennett is an American writer based in Los Angeles. Her debut novel The Mothers (2016) was a New York Times best-seller. Her second novel, The Vanishing Half (2020), was also a New York Times best-seller; further, it was chosen as a Good Morning America Book Club selection. The Vanishing Half was also selected as one of The New York Times ten best books of 2020.

Early life[edit]

Bennett was raised in Southern California and received an undergraduate degree in English from Stanford University. She later attended the University of Michigan for her M.F.A. She also studied at Oxford University.[1]


While she was completing her M.F.A. at Michigan, Bennett's 2014 essay for Jezebel, "I Don't Know What to Do With Good White People"[2] gained considerable attention, generating over one million views in three days.[3] While at Michigan, she also won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers.[4]

She has since published other nonfiction essays, including a history of black dolls called "Addy Walker, American Girl" for the Paris Review,[5] as well as a review of the 2015 Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between the World and Me for The New Yorker.[6] Vogue said Bennett's nonfiction essays "recall Ta-Nehisi Coates [with] a similar ability to contextualize the present moment in a bigoted past."[3]

The Mothers[edit]

In 2016, Riverhead Books published her debut novel The Mothers to critical acclaim. A New York Times best-seller,[7] the Times said The Mothers is "shaping up to be one of the fall’s biggest literary debuts, with an initial printing of 108,000 copies and starred reviews in Booklist, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly."[8] Bennett was named in the National Book Foundation "5 under 35"[9] list of promising debut novelists.[10] In March 2017 it was reported that The Mothers had been tapped by Warner Bros. for a film adaptation, with Kerry Washington as a producer.[11]

The Vanishing Half[edit]

In 2020, Bennett's second book The Vanishing Half was published by Riverhead Books, reaching the number-one spot on The New York Times best-seller list in June and was chosen as a New York Times best-seller and was chosen as a Good Morning America Book Club selection.[12][13] The Vanishing Half was also selected as one of The New York Times ten best books of 2020.[14] The Washington Post called The Vanishing Half a "fierce examination of contemporary passing and the price so many pay for a new identity."[15] Within a month of publication it was reported that HBO had acquired the rights for "low seven-figures" to develop a limited series with the author as executive producer.[16]


  • The Mothers: a novel, New York : Riverhead Books, 2016. ISBN 9780399184529
  • The Vanishing Half, New York: Riverhead Books, 2020. ISBN 9780525536291


  1. ^ Alter, Alexandra (October 9, 2016). "'The Mothers,' a Debut Novel, Is Already Creating a Stir". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Bennett, Brit (December 17, 2014). "I Don't Know What to Do With Good White People". Jezebel. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  3. ^ a b O'Grady, Megan (September 21, 2016). "Brit Bennett on Her Buzzed-About Debut Novel, The Mothers". Vogue. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  4. ^ "Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers, 5 Under 35, 2016, National Book Foundation". Archived from the original on April 16, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  5. ^ Bennett, Brit (May 28, 2015). "Addy Walker, American Girl". Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  6. ^ Bennett, Brit (July 15, 2015). "Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  7. ^ McKinney, Kelsey (October 31, 2016). "How did Brit Bennett write a novel relatable to everyone? By writing about black women". Fusion. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  8. ^ Alter, Alexandra (October 9, 2016). "'The Mothers,' a Debut Novel, Is Already Creating a Stir". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  9. ^ Bass, Patrik Henry (October 4, 2016). "Meet Brit Bennett, A Writer on the Come Up". Essence. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  10. ^ "Reader's Guide to This Fall's Big Book Awards". The New York Times. October 3, 2016. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  11. ^ Jeng, Jonah (March 10, 2017). "Kerry Washington, Warner Bros. to Adapt Brit Bennett's The Mothers for the Big Screen". Paste Magazine. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  12. ^ Shapiro, Lila (June 12, 2020). "'If You Can Perform Whiteness, Then What Does It Mean to Be White?'". Vulture. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  13. ^ GMA Team. "'The Vanishing Half' is 'GMA''s June Book Club pick: Read an excerpt". Good Morning America. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  14. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2020". The New York Times. November 23, 2020. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  15. ^ Page, Lisa (June 1, 2020). "Brit Bennett's 'The Vanishing Half' is a fierce examination of passing and the price people pay for a new identity". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  16. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 29, 2020). "HBO Wins 'The Vanishing Half' Auction In 7-Figure Deal; 17 Bidders Pursued Brit Bennett Bestseller". Deadline. Retrieved June 29, 2020.