Dame Hilary Mantel, one of Britain’s most highly-regarded writers, has died ‘suddenly yet peacefully’ at age 70.
Tributes are pouring in for the beloved and best-selling author, whose death was announced earlier this morning by her publisher, 4th Estate Books.
During her acclaimed career, Dame Hilary won two Booker Prizes, two Walter Scott Prizes, and a Costa Novel prize – all between 2009 and 2021.
She won her first Booker Prize for Wolf Hall, and her second for its sequel, Bringing Up the Bodies.
In the process, she became the first woman in history (and only the fourth person overall) to win the award twice.
Tributes have been coming in for the writer, with her being described as ‘one of the most powerful and magical’ writers in her industry.
Wolf Hall and the Thomas Cromwell Series, 2009
In 2009, Dame Hilary published Wolf Hall – a fictionalized biography that documents the quick rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the early 1500s.
The book is the first of a trilogy – in 2012, Dame Hilary published Bringing Up the Bodies, while in 2020 she published the final installment, The Mirror and the Light.
Wolf Hall was celebrated by critics and, in 2019, it was eventually selected by The Guardian as the greatest novel of the 21st century.
In 2012, the BBC announced that it would adapt the first two books of the series into a TV drama, starring Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis.
The series gained serious acclaim and won three Baftas, a Golden Globe, and was nominated for eight Emmy Awards.
The stage adaptation also claimed two Laurence Olivier Awards.
In 1989, Dame Hilary published her fourth novel, Fludd.
Set in 1956 on the moors of northern England in a fictional town called Fetherhoughton, Fludd focuses on the Roman Catholic church and convent in the town.
The novel is said to present an uncompromising and controversially harsh view of the Catholic church – for which it has received criticism.
Raised as a Catholic, Dame Hilary stopped practicing the religion as she grew up. In a 2012 interview with The Times, she said she thought the Catholic church was ‘not an institution for respectable people’.
Despite receiving criticism from some quarters, the novel was eventually recognized by the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize.
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, 2014
In 2014, Dame Hilary published a collection of short stories, titling the collection The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher.
In the eponymous short story, a member of the IRA assassinates the late Prime Minister. In an interview with The Guardian around the time, she confessed to having fantasized about Thatcher’s demise.
The interview and short story were met with calls by Thatcher’s allies to have Dame Hilary investigated by the police.
In response, the author told Der Spiegel: ‘These people don’t know how to read fiction, they were professionally outraged.’
She continued: ‘I don’t know if the reactions would have been the same if a male writer like Martin Amis or Ian McEwan had published this.’
Every Day is Mother’s Day, 1985
In 1985, Dame Hilary published Every Day is Mother’s Day and, in 1986, its sequel novel Vacant Possession. They were the first books she had ever published, at the age of 33.
The novel follows spiritualist Evelyn Axon after she discovers that her daughter Muriel, who lives with a learning disability, has become pregnant.
The follow-up novel then focused on Muriel leaving a mental institution and attempting to exact revenge on the people who put her there.
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MORE : Wolf Hall author Dame Hilary Mantel was ‘working on a new book’ before death aged 70
MORE : Tributes pour in for Dame Hilary Mantel following death of Wolf Hall author aged 70: ‘One of the greatest novelists of our time’