I am so pleased that one of my favourite authors, Hilary Mantel,CBE has won the Man Booker Prize for 2009. Her novel Wolf Hall, about Henry VIII’s minister Thomas Cromwell, was published in 2009 to huge critical acclaim.
Hearing the good news, she said: “I can tell you at this moment I am happily flying through the air”. Judges voted three to two in favour of Wolf Hall for the prize, with Mantel being presented with a trophy and a £50,000 cash prize during an evening ceremony at the London Guildhall. The panel of judges, led by the broadcaster James Naughtie, described Wolf Hall as an “extraordinary piece of storytelling”. Leading up to award, the book was backed as the favourite by bookmakers and accounted for 45%of all the nominated books’ sales. By winning, it subsequently became the first favourite to win the award since 2002.
Hilary is now working on a short non-fiction book called The Woman Who Died of Robespierre, about the Polish playwright Stanislawa Przybyszewska. She writes reviews and essays, mainly for The Guardian, the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books.
I enjoyed meeting Hilary some years ago when she came to Billericay to speak to our Literary Group and gave me an excellent interview for my weekly column. Can’t wait to read her new book.