Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel dies. Her friends remember her as “a fearless novelist with great empathy”

Hilary Mantel, the British author of the best-selling ‘Wolf Hall’ trilogy and the first woman to win the prestigious Booker Prize twice, has died. She was 70, her publisher and agent announced Friday.

Mantel, who was considered one of the greatest English-language novelists of this century, died “suddenly but peacefully” on Thursday, surrounded by close family and friends, according to her agent.

A statement released by HarperCollins Editors said: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel and our hearts go out to her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald. C It’s a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us such a magnificent body of work.”

Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics. She will be greatly missed,” her rep wrote in a blog post.

Born July 6, 1952 in Glossop, Derbyshire, England, Mantel has won the prestigious Booker Prize twice, for Wolf Hall in 2009, the first in the Thomas Cromwell series, and the 2012 follow-up Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year. To date, The Wolf Hall trilogy has been translated into 41 languages ​​with sales of over 5 million worldwide.

The conclusion to her trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, was published in 2020 to great critical acclaim, became a fiction bestseller and was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. Mantel was the first woman to receive the Booker Prize twice.

“Everyone at the Booker Prizes is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Hilary Mantel, four-time Booker Prize nominee and winner in 2009 and 2012. We send our sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues,” said said The Booker Prizes in a tweet.

Ben Hamilton, who has been Mantel’s agent throughout his career, said it has been his greatest privilege to work with the writer.

Her wit, stylistic audacity, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight make her one of the greatest novelists of our time, Hamilton said.

“She will be remembered for her enormous generosity to other aspiring writers, her ability to electrify live audiences, and the wide range of her journalism and criticism, producing some of the best commentary on issues and books. She will be sorely missed, but as a shining light for writers and readers, she leaves an extraordinary legacy,” Hamilton said.

Nicholas Pearson, former publishing director of 4th Estate and longtime editor of Hilary, said the news of Hilary’s death was devastating to her friends and everyone who worked with her.

“Hilary had a unique view of the world, she chose it and revealed how it works in her contemporary and historical novels; each book is an unforgettable weave of luminous phrases, unforgettable characters, and remarkable insight. She seemed to know everything. For a long time she was admired by critics, but The Wolf Hall Trilogy found her the vast readership she long deserved,” Pearson said.

HarperCollins CEO Charlie Redmayne said Mantel was a “writer at heart” who had “tremendous empathy for her subjects”.

“A writer at heart, Hilary was one of the greatest of her generation, a serious and fearless novelist with great empathy for her subjects. Who else could have brought to life Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and the enormous cast of The Wolf Hall trilogy with such insight, fragility and humanity but she?

“Hilary’s companionship, her wisdom, her humor and her incredible literary legacy will be missed by all of us, she will be read for as long as people are still reading,” Redmayne said.

In an interview with the FinancialTimes diary on September 10, Mantel opened up about his lifelong health issues and said his “health is unpredictable.”

“When I was little, a mean doctor called me ‘Little Miss Neverwell’. Now I’m Great Lady Neverwell. My health is unpredictable and a source of daily stress. she declared. by the British daily.

Ever since she was in her early twenties, Mantel had suffered from debilitating health issues. She was later diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease of the female reproductive system, due to which she had to undergo surgical menopause at the age of 27, leaving her unable to bear children.

The writer said extreme caution in small things and big risk-taking in big business defined his life.

“In small things, be extremely careful: ‘Take your raincoat. By the way, why not take two?’ But for a new country or a project, I was ready to take the plunge. In major decisions, we rarely have all the information we need. If you hesitate and rationalize for too long, you lose your courage,” she said in the interview.

Mantel also touched on the subject of the afterlife when answering a question about whether she believed in the idea or not.

“Yes. I can’t imagine how it could work. However, the universe is not limited by what I can imagine,” she said.

The 4th Estate Books, an imprint of HarperCollins UK, has published its latest book, “The Wolf Hall Picture Book”, which was released in the UK on September 15.

Mantel was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, England on July 6, 1952. She studied law at the London School of Economics and the University of Sheffield. She worked as a social worker and lived in Botswana for five years, followed by four years in Saudi Arabia, before returning to Britain in the mid-1980s.

Mantel married geologist Gerald McEwen on September 23, 1972.