Hilary Mantel Has Passed Away

By: Brandon Williams, September 23rd, 2022 11:09 pm.

Dame Hilary Mantel, award-winning author of the Wolf Hall trilogy, has passed away at the age of 70 following a stroke.

Her publisher, HarperCollins, called her “one of the greatest English novelists of this century” in a statement announcing her passing.

After getting nine novels published to good reviews and modest sales, Hilary wrote Wolf Hall, which followed English historical figure Thomas Cromwell. As soon as she wrote the first paragraph, she knew she had something special.

“I thought: This is the central project of my life. And everything I know, everything I can do, is going to go into these books. After that, I fold my hands, and it’s over to you, the reader,” she said in a 2020 interview with NPR.

She was right. Hilary was awarded the prestigious Booker Prize in 2009, which came with a £50,000 cash prize that she said she’d spend on “sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” and also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The second book in the series, Bring Up the Bodies won the 2012 Booker Prize, as well as the Costa Novel Prize. Upon winning the second Booker Prize, she became the first female to win the award twice.

Hilary was born in Derbyshire, England in 1952. She attended Catholic schools growing up, and went on to study law at the London School of Economics, and then the University of Sheffield. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree.

Hilary’s original dream was to study law, but health issues forced her to give it up, leading her to start a writing career. She had written A Place of Greater Safety, but had difficulty getting it published – at the time, it was difficult to find a publisher for historical fiction. Instead, she wrote Every Day is Mother’s Day – a contemporary novel – and she was quickly able to find a publisher.

Hilary is survived by her husband, Gerald McEwen.

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