Book Events

Book Event: Brit Bennett, Author of The Mothers

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On Tuesday February 7th, I attended an author event for Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers.  This event was held at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers at their Cincinnati, Ohio location.

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Even though I had not yet read the book, I have heard overwhelmingly positive things about it, so I am confident that when I do get the opportunity to pick it up, I will love it.

  Before we go any further, I am going to give you a little background info about the book…

TheMothers.jpgA dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most. Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever

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I was very happy to see a good turn out for this event.  Unfortunately, many people do not appreciate a good author event as much as I do.

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After Brit was introduced, she read a few passages from The Mothers. Since this was the Tuesday after the Super Bowl, she chose to read from Luke’s perspective, a former football start that suffered a serious injury.  Once she finished her reading, Brit opened up the floor for questions from the audience.  I was pleasantly surprised that so many people in the audience were willing to ask questions.  This audience Q&A session lasted around 30-40 minutes.

I am really not sure how to organize the info from this Q&A session in a coherent manner, so here it is in bullet form…

» Brit Bennett wrote The Mothers while she was in college.  She would work on this book during her summer vacations, so the book roughly took 7-8 years to write.

» Brit’s parents wanted her to pursue a more “practical” job.

» She knew the book was finished when she finally let some friends read it and they told her it was finished.  If not for them, she would probably still be working on it.

» She feels encouraged by the diverse books movement, but she worries that people will treat it like a fad or trend.

» She had the opportunity to attend the National Book Award ceremony this past year and was thrilled with all the authors of color who won awards.

» She is not planning on writing a sequel to The Mothers, as she is emotionally finished with the story, but she would like to hide “Easter eggs” in her future works for her amusement.

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» Publication has made her more self conscious while writing her next book.

» She doesn’t like to talk about what she is currently working on, but it is going to have something to do with twins living divergent lives.   She is currently working on the first draft.

» Her favorite author is Toni Morrison.

» Books that have inspired her include Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, and The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

» She has not experienced the loss of her mother, but she has always had a fear of losing her parents.

» The cover was designed by Rachel Willey.  It was one of the last designs she created before going into the big meeting.

» While doing a photoshoot for her interview with Vogue, her photoshoot was disrupted by a bunch of people playing Pokémon Go in the park.

» She did not come up with the title of The Mothers.  She claims she is terrible with coming up with book titles.

» She likes to walk to coffee shops to write.

» She listens to music to hype her self up to write, then likes to listen to soothing music while she is writing.

» She treats writing like a job, so she writes every day.

» She has sold the movie rights to The Mothers.  It will be announced soon.  She is currently trying to decide if she will write the screenplay or not.

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After the Q&A session, Brit was more than happy to sign books and pose for pictures.  In case anyone was wondering, my shirt says “Books Before Bros” and yes, I did receive many compliments on it.  It was a gift from my bookish best friend, Nicole, who attended the event with me and wore her matching shirt.  Don’t lie, you are totally jealous of our awesomeness.

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About the Author:

bbBorn 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.

WebsiteTwitter FacebookInstagram

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Have you read The Mothers?  What did you think?

Do you attend author events?

Comment below and let me know 🙂
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27 thoughts on “Book Event: Brit Bennett, Author of The Mothers”

  1. This is AWESOME. I have read a lot of Author Event posts in my day, and this one is great. I really love the bulleted list about what you learned during the event! That’s really interesting. Plus, it gives me some insight as to what questions were asked. I have my first author event EVER coming up in a few weeks and I am a bit nervous. I have some question ideas now. 🙂

    Also, I am totally jealous of your Books before Bros matching t-shirts.

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      1. I’m going to see Brittany Cavallaro! I just started A Study in Charlotte last night and it’s definitely fun thus far. The problem is that I’m struggling to *find* author events near me. I know they exist, but either I’m terrible at looking or the marketing is bad. Both? Something else?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think its the marketing! I definitely have to search high and low for them… I am always checking bookstore calendars. This bookstore is in Cincinnati, which is an hour away from me. I am going to see V.E. Schwab in Kentucky this coming weekend and that will be a 1.5 hour drive. Every once in a while I will get an event close to Dayton.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t ever really look beyond my city limits. That’s obviously a mistake, based on this comment. I really need to do some more searching! I should look into some of the more indie bookstores in a larger radius around my home, then. Thanks for the tip!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s very rare, Amanda dear =( There is a big anual event in my city, but nothing that exciting ever happens there, haha! Like, no cool autors (even Brazilian ones) usually attend to the event, there are no good book promotions on the publishers’ ends and barely cool swags =( BY THE WAY, WELCOME BACK!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read this book yet, but I will be pretty soon! And I would have absolutely loved to have been able to attend this event! Kudos on the “Books Before Bros” t-shirt. That’s freakin’ awesome! PS: Have you heard anymore about tickets to see Schwab in Crestview Hills, KY? I can’t find any information on the event as far as tickets or anything. The link you gave me doesn’t even show her scheduled on the website, so I’m not sure but was just wondering! Thanks, Amanda!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was at this event, I asked about the Schwab event. From what they told me, it is going to be a “first come, first serve” kind of event. I guess they will give you a number when you arrive, so obviously arriving earlier will give you a better number. I just can’t decide what time I need to get there…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So jealous and happy for you! I’m amazed that you were able to take down so many notes and put together such a compelling blog post for this even! I may try this idea in the future the next time I go see an author I admire, but I’m terrible at taking notes so it may not go as well as I think it will. haha, but thanks so much for summarizing the event! I loved reading about the Q&A and all the insights I got into the book and the writer. I had no idea there was going to be a movie for The Mothers. That’s fantastic news!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Naz! I started taking a notebook to events to take notes because I have an awful memory. I used to jot down notes on my phone, but I thought it might look like I was surfing the web and not paying attention, so I go “old school” now lol

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