16 October 2012
Hilary Mantel is the first woman and the first British author to win the prize twice. At 60, 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.
Bring up the Bodies
By Hilary Mantel
Published by Fourth Estate (£20)
The year is 1535 and Thomas Cromwell, chief Minister to Henry VIII, must work both to please the king and keep the nation safe. Anne Boleyn, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church, has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. As Henry develops a dangerous attraction to Wolf Hall’s Jane Seymour, Thomas must negotiate a ‘truth’ that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.
A former winner of the Man Booker Prize (2009), Hilary Mantel CBE was born in Derbyshire, England on 6 July 1952. She studied Law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University. She was employed as a social worker, and lived in Botswana for five years, followed by four years in Saudi Arabia, before returning to Britain in the mid-1980s. Her books include Eight Months on Ghazzah Street (1988); Fludd (1989) winner of the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, the Cheltenham Prize and the Southern Arts Literature Prize; A Place of Greater Safety (1992), winner of the Sunday Express Book of the Year award; A Change of Climate (1994); An Experiment in Love (1995), winner of the 1996 Hawthornden Prize; Beyond Black (2005), shortlisted for a 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize and for the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize; and Wolf Hall (2009), winner of the Man Booker Prize. In 2006 she was also awarded a CBE.
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