Written by Holly Pratt

The Mothers, Brit Bennett’s debut novel, is the type of novel where you sit down intending to read just a chapter or two but end up putting off the world until it’s done, its clear, decisive prose pushing out every other thought. Her characters—Nadia, Aubrey, Luke—are multi-faceted and, though you think you know them like old friends, surprise you again and again. She includes a collective “We” narrator, The Mothers as sages, intermediaries between you and the turbulence of the main characters’ lives. And then there are those turbulent lives laying bare betrayals of all kinds—the betrayal of a mother who takes her own life, leaving behind a grieving daughter, the betrayal of a lover, a friend, a father. Your betrayal of yourself.

Here are some impressive facts about Bennett:

  1. She began this novel when she was seventeen.
  2. It was published by Riverhead Books when she was twenty-six with an initial publication run of 108,000 copies—which is like being in the middle of a pack of fellow marathon runners and then having a hand gently pick you up and place you on a road all your own where you can run freely and enjoy the view.
  3. She writes searing, necessary essays that we should all read, most famously, I Don’t Know What to Do with Good White People, which appeared in Jezebel in 2014.
  4. The Mothers has been snapped up by Warner Bros. and will be made into a movie by none other than Kerry Washington and her production company, Simpson Street. The novel packs a punch, and I have no doubt the movie will have us all ugly crying in our seats.

Bennett will be at Get Lit! 2018 where you’ll have the chance to hear her read on Friday April 27th at the Bing Crosby Theater, along with Maggie Smith. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here. The reading starts at 7:00pm and doors open at 6:00.

Bennett will also be giving a craft talk on desire. No, not the run of the mill type most of us are familiar with, but the desire of a character—what do they want, what drives your character, what tension is created by this desire? The class will take place on Saturday April 28th at the Montvale Event Center, Room 2. It starts at 9:30am and runs until 11:30. Tickets are available at TicketsWest.