About Seattle Reads: 2021
Our 2021 Seattle Reads selection is The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. We will host a virtual program with Brit Bennett in October 2021. We will have copies of the book available for informal borrowing this summer. More details to come soon.
About "The Vanishing Half"
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.
About Brit Bennett
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 as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel. She is one of the National Book Foundation’s 2016 5 Under 35 honorees.
About Seattle Reads
Seattle Reads is a city-wide book group, where people are encouraged to read and discuss the same book. It’s designed to deepen engagement in literature through reading and discussion. Everyone is invited to participate in Seattle Reads by reading the featured book, joining in a book discussion, and/or attending programs with the featured writer.
Seattle Reads The Vanishing Half is presented in partnership with the African American Writers’ Alliance, LANGSTON, Northwest African American Museum, and Wa Na Wari. It is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Wallace Foundation, with additional support from media sponsor The Seattle Times, Riverhead Books and Penguin Random House.