Interviews

Brit Bennett: Questions on inspiration and creativity

Photo of author Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett answers questions on writing, inspiration and creativity.

Brit Bennett has been longlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction for The Vanishing Half. We caught up with her to ask twelve quickfire questions about her favourite bookshops, writing habits and the authors who most inspire her.


1) Describe in three words how it feels to be longlisted for the Women’s Prize.

Excited, proud, honored

2) What inspired you to write The Vanishing Half?

My mother told me about a town she heard about as a child where all the residents obsessed over skin color

3) What is the best book you’ve read in lockdown?

Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg 

4) Which woman writer do you think is most underrated and why?

Dorothy Allison should be a household name – her work is so searing and beautiful 

5) What was the first thing you ever wrote?

A short story about a boy living in the woods

6) What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Start with questions, not answers

7) Which book do you most often buy for friends?

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett 

8) If I didn’t write, I would be a ____

Teacher 

9) I can’t write without  _____

Time and space to think

10) My bookshelves are ____

Horribly disorganized 

11) My favourite bookshop is ____

Literati in Ann Arbor, Michigan

12) My favourite fictional character is ____

Impossible question, but I’ve always loved Shug Avery [from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple].

Discover the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist here.

The Women's Prize Podcast


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