Hilary Mantel : “Well, I don’t know, you wait 20 years for a Booker Prize and two come along at once.”

by |October 17, 2012

From the Man Booker website: Hilary Mantel is tonight named the winner of the £50,000 ($81,000) Man Booker Prize for Fiction for her novel Bring up the Bodies, published by Fourth Estate.

Hilary Mantel is the first woman and the first British author to win the prize twice. She is only the third double winner alongside J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey. She is also the first person to win the prize for two novels in a trilogy, following her success in 2009 with Wolf Hall.

Hilary was previously longlisted in 2005 for Beyond Black. She was also a judge for the prize in 1990 when A.S. Byatt won with Possession.

Bring up the Bodies is the second win for Fourth Estate, following the success of Wolf Hall. The second book in Mantel’s trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell, Bring up the Bodies charts the bloody downfall of Anne Boleyn. Mantel has been widely praised for her rich ‘descriptive intimacy’ (Telegraph), ‘novelistic intelligence’ (New Yorker) and ability to transport the reader to the fifteenth century. Margaret Atwood praised her in The Guardian, saying ‘literary invention does not fail her: she’s as deft and verbally adroit as ever’, whilst the judges admired Mantel’s ‘even greater mastery of method, her powerful realism in the separateness of past and present – and the vivid depiction of English character and landscape’.

Sir Peter Stothard, Chair of judges, made the announcement at the awards dinner which was televised live by the BBC from London’s Guildhall. Mantel was presented with a cheque for £50,000 by Peter Clarke, Chief Executive of Man.

Sir Peter comments: ‘This double accolade is uniquely deserved. Hilary Mantel has rewritten the rules for historical fiction. In Bring up the Bodies, our greatest modern writer retells the origins of modern England.’

Winning the prize in 2009 brought Hilary Mantel worldwide recognition and record sales; winning the prize this year will mean a further considerable increase. In addition to her £50,000 prize, she was also given, along with the rest of the 2012 shortlist, £2,500 and a specially commissioned handbound edition of her book.

Stothard was joined on the 2012 judging panel by: Dinah Birch, academic and literary critic; Amanda Foreman, historian, writer and broadcaster; Dan Stevens, actor; and Bharat Tandon, academic, writer and reviewer.

This year’s shortlist has been widely acclaimed. With the judging panel’s emphasis on the role of the novelist in renewing the English language, the media has celebrated the ‘return of the literary novel’ with the Man Booker Prize.

Click here to buy Bring up the Bodies from Booktopia, Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

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About the Contributor

John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for the last twenty years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Head of Product and Chief Buyer at booktopia.com.au.

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  • October 18, 2012 at 7:56 am

    That opening line of hers was priceless.

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