Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel dies aged 70: publisher


Hilary Mantel, the first British novelist to win the Booker Prize twice and who sold millions of books around the world, has died aged 70, her publishers announced on Friday.

“We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald,” 4th Estate Books said.

Mantel won the Booker Prize for “Wolf Hall” (2009) and “Bring Up the Bodies” (2012) and had been tipped to win again in 2020 with “The Mirror & The Light,” the third in the trilogy.

The television adaptation of the first two books, starring Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy and Jonathan Pryce, was nominated at both the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. 

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter that it was “impossible to overstate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind,” describing the Wolf Hall Trilogy as her “crowning achievement”.

Her publisher called Mantel “one of the greatest English novelists of this century” whose works are considered “modern classics” and who will be “greatly missed”. 

“Hilary had a unique outlook on the world — she picked it apart and revealed how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels — every book an unforgettable weave of luminous sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable insight.

Only last month Mantel, had confided in him that she was working on a new book, Pearson added.

Mantel published her first novel in 1985, “Every Day Is Mother’s Day”, a darkly comic story about a mentally disabled girl and her terrifying mother, who communes with the undead.

That manuscript was drafted in the 1970s but only emerged in 1992 as “A Place of Greater Safety”, set in the years leading up to the French Revolution of 1789, and its blood-soaked aftermath.

The writer did not fight shy of controversy.

In 2013 she attracted criticism after she was quoted as describing Prince William’s wife Catherine, now the Princess of Wales, as a “shop-window mannequin” whose only purpose was to breed.

She was also condemned in 2014 for her work “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher”, a collection of 10 short stories including one of the same title.

But Mantel hit back, saying the story demonstrated how easily events could have taken a different path.