Hilary Mantel, Double Booker Prize winner and Wolf Hall trilogy author, dies aged 70

Celebrated British writer Dame Hilary Mantel has died at the age of 70, her publisher announced on Friday.

“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, aged 70,” HarperCollins said in a statement.

“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.”

Mantel was best known for its sprawling Wolf Hall Trilogy about the life of the 16th-century statesman Thomas Cromwell. She twice won the prestigious Booker Prize—for Wolf Hall and the sequel, Bring up the bodies-which were adapted for TV and a hit West End show.

The last part in the series, The mirror and the lightwas published in 2020 with great acclaim.

Before writing the trilogy that catapulted her into a literary superstar, Mantel released other popular novels, including the epic historical fiction A place with more safety, which followed the central characters of the French Revolution. Her first novel, a black comedy based on her experiences in a geriatric hospital, Everyday is Mother’s Dayappeared in 1985.

Nicholas Pearson, Mantel’s longtime editor, described her death as “devastating.”

“Last month I sat with her on a sunny afternoon in Devon, as she talked excitedly about the new novel she had begun,” he told the Associated Press. ‘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.”

Mantel received a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) award from Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.

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Mantel’s illustrious career as a writer has earned her numerous accolades, including her appointment as a lady – the female equivalent of a knight – by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014.

In an article published in the Financial times earlier this month, Mantel was asked what she would have done differently. “Run for certain people who turned out to be ‘toxic’,” she replied. “I don’t have a built-in toximeter. Maybe one needs to be converted.”

The author also confirmed that she believed in an afterlife. “I can’t imagine how it could work,” she said. “However, the universe is not limited by what I can imagine.”

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