Lady Hilary Mantelone of Britain’s most esteemed writers, has passed away ‘suddenly but peacefully’ at the age of 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 critically acclaimed careerDame Hilary won two Booker awards, two Walter Scott awards and a Costa Novel award – 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 pouring in for the writer, describing her 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 fictional biography documenting Thomas Cromwell’s meteoric rise in the early 1500s.
The book is the first in a trilogy – in 2012, Dame Hilary published Bringing Up the Bodies, while in 2020 she published the final volume, The Mirror and the Light.
Wolf Hall was celebrated by critics and in 2019 it was finally 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 was widely acclaimed, winning three Baftas, a Golden Globe and being nominated for eight Emmy Awards.
The stage adaptation also won 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 town’s Roman Catholic church and convent.
The novel is said to take an uncompromising and controversially harsh look at the Catholic Church – for which criticism has been received.
Raised as a Catholic, Dame Hilary stopped practicing the religion when growing 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 Murder of Margaret Thatcher, 2014
In 2014, Dame Hilary published a collection of short stories entitled The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher Collection.
In the short story of the same name, a member of the IRA murders the late prime minister. In an interview with The Guardian around that time, she confessed to having fantasized about Thatcher’s demise.
The interview and short story were met with calls from Thatcher’s allies for Dame Hilary to be investigated by the police.
In response, the author said: the mirror: ‘These people can’t read fiction, they were outraged professionally.’
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.”
Everyday is Mother’s Day, 1985
In 1985, Dame Hilary published Every Day is Mother’s Day and in 1986 the follow-up novel Vacant Possession. They were the first books she had ever published, at 33 years old.
The novel follows spiritualist Evelyn Axon after she discovers that her daughter Muriel, who lives with an intellectual disability, has become pregnant.
The sequel novel then focused on Muriel leaving a mental institution and trying to get revenge on the people who put her there.
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