literature & poetry
talks & debates

Brit Bennett: The Vanishing Half

From the bestselling author of The Mothers comes a new novel about twin sisters who ultimately choose to live in two different worlds: one black and one white.

The Vignes sisters will always be identical twins.

But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age 16, 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.

Ten 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.

Join New York Times bestselling author Brit Bennett as she discusses her powerful new novel, The Vanishing Half.

Detailing the parallel lives of estranged twin sisters, The Vanishing Half weaves together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s.

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.

It explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

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’ honourees.

Dates & times

25 Jun 2020
Approximate run time: 90 mins
Run times may vary, find out more
    • Thu 25 June 2020
      • 7:45 pm


Royal Festival Hall
Level 5 Function Room, Green Side


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


25% off (limited availability)
Find out more about our Concessions policy

need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 16+

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.