Dame Hilary Mantel has passed away “suddenly but peacefully” at the age of 70.
A statement released by publishing house HarperCollins said: “It is with great sadness that AM Heath and HarperCollins announce that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE passed away suddenly but peacefully yesterday, surrounded by close family.
and friends, 70 years.
“Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics. She will be greatly missed.”
She was best known for her epic The Wolf Hall trilogy, of which Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford professor of theology and biographer of Thomas Cromwell said, “Hilary reset historical patterns by the way she reimagined the man.”
She twice won the Man Booker Prize, for Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year.
The conclusion of her groundbreaking The Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror & the Light, was published in 2020 to huge critical acclaim, was an instant number one fiction bestseller and was long-listed for The Booker Prize 2020 and winner of the Walter Scott Prize. for Historical Fiction, which she first won for Wolf Hall.
To date, The Wolf Hall Trilogy has been translated into 41 languages with sales exceeding 5 million worldwide.
Hilary Mantel was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, England on July 6, 1952.
She studied law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University.
She worked as a social worker and lived in Botswana for five years, followed by four years in Saudi Arabia before she…
returned to Britain in the mid-1980s.
Mantel married geologist Gerald McEwen on September 23, 1972.
Hilary Mantel’s Acclaimed Books
She is the author of seventeen critically acclaimed books, including:
- Everyday is Mother’s Day
- Empty property
- Eight months on Ghazzah Street
- Fludd, winner of the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, the Cheltenham Prize and the Southern Arts Literature Prize
- A Place of Greater Safety, winner of the Sunday Express Book of the Year award
- A change of climate
- An Experiment in Love, 1996 Hawthornden Prize winner
- The giant, O’Brien,
- Beyond Black, nominated for a 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize and for the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction
- Learn to talk
- The Murder of Margaret Thatcher
Her non-fiction work includes the memoir Giving up the Ghost – her collected writings from the London Review of Books, Mantel Pieces and most recently The Wolf Hall Picture Book – a photography collaboration between Hilary Mantel, Ben Miles and George Miles.
In 1990 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, in 2006 she was awarded a CBE and in 2014 she was appointed DBE.
Dame Hilary was patron of Scene and Heard, a theatrical mentoring project, governor of RSC and president of the Budleigh Festival.
Tribute to Dame Hilary Mantel
Bill Hamilton, her agent at AM Heath, said: “I first met Hilary in 1984 after she sent the manuscript of Every Day is Mother’s Day.
“It was the greatest privilege to work with her throughout her career and to see all the elements that made her unique come together in spectacular fashion in The Wolf Hall Trilogy. Her wit, stylistic audacity, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight characterize her as one of the greatest novelists of our time.
She will be remembered for her tremendous generosity to other budding writers, her ability to enthuse a live audience, and the sheer volume of journalism and criticism, which produced some of the best commentary on issues and books.
“Hilary’s emails were sprinkled with fun jokes and jokes as she observed the world with relish, plunging into the lazy or absurd and nailed cruelty and prejudice.
“There was always a slight aura of otherworldliness about her, as she saw and felt things that us mere mortals lacked, but when she perceived the need for confrontation, she would go into battle fearlessly.
“And all this against the background of chronic health problems, which she dealt with so stoically.
“We will miss her immeasurably, but as a shining light for writers and readers she leaves a special legacy. Our thoughts go out to her beloved husband Gerald, family and friends.”
Nicholas Pearson, former Publishing Director of 4th Estate and Hilary’s long-term editor said: “The news of Hilary’s death is devastating to her friends and everyone who has worked with her.
Hilary had a unique view of the world – she took it apart and revealed how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels – each book an unforgettable weave of clear sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable insight.
She seemed to know everything. For a long time she was critically admired, but The Wolf Hall Trilogy found her to have the huge readership she long deserved.
“Read her late books, but also read her early books, which are equally daring and take the reader to strange places.
“As a person, Hilary was kind and generous and loving, always a great champion of other writers. She was a pleasure to work with.
“Just last month I sat with her on a sunny afternoon in Devon, as she excitedly talked about the new novel she had begun.
“It is unbearable that we will no longer enjoy her words. What we do have is a body of work that will be read for generations.
“We should be grateful for that. I will miss her and my thoughts are with her husband Gerald.”
Charlie Redmayne, CEO HarperCollins said: “This is terrible, tragic news and we are filled with sadness for Hilary’s family and friends, especially her devoted husband Gerald.
“We are so proud that 4th Estate and HarperCollins were Hilary’s publishers, and for such an unparalleled body of work. A writer at heart, Hilary was one of the greatest of her generation – a serious, fearless novelist with tremendous empathy for her subjects .
Who else could have brought Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and the massive cast of The Wolf Hall Trilogy to life with such a
insight, vulnerability and humanity besides them?
“We will miss Hilary’s companionship, her wisdom, her humor and cherish her incredible literary legacy – she will be read as long as people still read.”