Hilary Mantel death: British author of Wolf Hall trilogy dies aged 70

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Hilary Mantel, the author of Wolf Hall, has died at the age of 70.

The British writer died “suddenly yet peacefully, surrounded by close family and friends” yesterday (22 September), Harper Collins said in a statement.

Mantel is best known for her epic Wolf Hall trilogy, which has been translated into 41 languages and sold more than five million copies worldwide.

The books in the trilogy are fictional accounts of the life of Thomas Cromwell, and they have earned Mantel two Booker prizes – for Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies.

Mantel was the first woman and fourth person to receive the award twice, following in the footsteps of JM Coetzee, Peter Carey and JG Farrell. The third instalment of the trilogy, The Mirror & the Light, was released in 2020 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize that year.

Mantel published a new photography book, The Wolf Hall Picture Book, just this month. It was created with the actor Ben Miles and his photographer brother George.

In an interview with the Financial Times earlier this month, Mantel was asked whether she believes in an after life, to which she replied: “Yes. I can’t imagine how it might work. However, the universe is not limited by what I can imagine.”

Born in Derbyshire, Mantel studied at the London School of Economics before living and working in Botswana and Saudi Arabia. It was while living in Saudi Arabia that she published her first novel, Every Day is Mother’s Day, in 1985. She later said that leaving Jeddah felt like “the happiest day of [her] life”.

She was awarded a CBE in 2006 and made a Dame in 2014.

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