An Interview with Hannah Beckwith

Meet Han. It's hard to explain the depth and importance of my relationship with Han. She and I met about three years ago, in California, and since then she has been a steadfast source of encouragement and accountability. Hannah is the kind of friend you can sit across from in a busy cafe in New York for hours-reading, drinking almond milk cappuccinos, philosophizing, laughing. She sees the world in poems and speaks in verse. 

On reading:

No matter what season of life I find myself, I can always trust books and stories to transport me to other worlds, where I am sure to encounter new friends and new or forgotten truths. Standing in front of my bookshelf, a collection I began as a young girl, I could point to every single book and tell you something specific I learned from it. Redeeming Love taught me to pursue people and love deeply even when it hurts. I fell in love with Marius from Les Miserables, but more importantly I learned that people truly can change and redemption is powerful. Name of the Wind allowed me to fall back in love with fantasy, even as a grown woman; I found myself enchanted with the stringing together of words to produce a beautiful narrative. The Lord of the Rings trilogy has captured my heart in every way imaginable and inspires me to find a fellowship to journey through life and seek adventure with—we tend to grow in the unexpected, the uncomfortable, and in the moments we choose to be courageous. Recently, Milk and Honey has inspired me with the power of poetry to speak truth. Lastly, Charles Dickens shows me the possibilities of giving voice to every single character (hundreds of characters), no matter the place they occupy in society. Thanks to these stories and others, I believe I am not only a smarter, but a wiser person with enlightened ideas about how to love others deeply and widely. But mostly, I relate to C.S. Lewis when he said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” Through books, I find my solace and escape. Writing is my way of making sense of the world; while reading reminds me I am not alone in my endeavors.

On how you spend your Saturday afternoons:

As I write this, it is 5:45 on a Saturday evening. I am laying in my dreamy, white bed, with a candle, twinkly lights, a mug of coffee, and plans of reading and writing. This normally follows a morning run or hike in Austin, brunch with friends, time with Jesus, a little cleaning/grocery shopping/floral arranging, and a nice long nap. After decompressing a bit, I normally go out to dinner with roommates or friends, and we come home to a glass of wine and good conversation. I love the combination of adventure and sunshine, followed by reflection and relaxation.

On your go-to dinner party plan: 

Wow. Let me try to tell you how much I adore having friends over for a home cooked meal. If I had enough time and money, I would cook for a friend every single night, accompanied with candles, wine, records, and flowers. However, I am altering the questions to my “go to brunch party plan,” because I would choose to host a brunch over a dinner party, any day. Brunch parties are dreamy with mimosas, homemade cinnamon rolls, egg casserole, fruit salad, and a simple but beautifully set table. Tonight, I will run by Trader Joes to pick up some fresh flowers for our Easter brunch table. In the end though, I love collecting my dear friends together for beautiful food and even richer conversation—if you have those two things, then everything else will fall into place!

On your personal uniform:

Earth tones and thin stripes speak to me in ways bright colors and patterns never will. I don’t really know why, because at some point in my life I truly loved a fun hot pink dress, but now I find myself wearing 95% grey and white stripes paired with denim, a green jacket or white sweater, and a pair of tennis shoes or birkenstocks. Call me the queen of the comfy/cute/casual look. If you ever see me dressed up real nice, consider yourself special, because that is a treat! My pin straight hair and capsule wardrobe allow me to roll out of bed and tackle the day, whether it holds a business casual day at work, outdoor adventure, or Sunday brunch after church. If you find yourself confused, don’t worry… I have been told my style resembles both a “nature fairy” and an “all American, J. Crew girl.” Not sure how I feel about that, but lately I have been convicted about slavery in the garment industry so I am trying to shop ethically and fair trade—combine Everlane and Patagonia and I am a happy girl! (If you are interested, check out the documentary the True Cost.)

On what speaks to you:

There are a few things that set my soul on fire and “speak” to the deep recesses of my heart. I think I feel most alive and content when I am having either a deep, emotional or intellectual conversation with someone I feel completely comfortable with. I love connecting with the hearts of people and speaking life into their souls. If I’m not doing this through a conversation, I love to write words of life. In the same way that books speak to me, I hope to use my words—both written and spoken—to do the same for others.