09 October 2009

Sheffield graduate wins prestigious literary prize

A graduate from the University of Sheffield has been awarded the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Hilary Mantel CBE, who graduated with a degree in Law from the University in 1973, was granted the prize of £50,000 at a ceremony at the London Guildhall on Tuesday 6 October 2009. She faced competition from five other authors on the shortlist.

Her book, Wolf Hall, is set in Tudor England and explores both the individual psychology and politics of Henry VIII, his chief adviser Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell, his ambitious clerk and successor.

The annual Booker Prize award is one of the most prestigious in the literary world, and judges the best novel written in the Commonwealth or Ireland. The winner receives £50,000 and often a significant boost in sales following the award. This year´s judges included BBC presenter James Naughtie and comedian Sue Perkins. Previous winners of the prize include Iris Murdoch, William Golding and Ian McEwan.

The award comes after a successful literary career for Hilary, including the multi-award winning Fludd, A Place of Greater Safety which was awarded the Sunday Express `Book of the Year´ prize and An Experiment in Love for which she won the Hawthorden prize. More recently she has written autobiographical stories including Giving up the Ghost: A Memoir and Learning to Talk. She was also awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Letters Degree from the University of Sheffield in 2005.

Born in Hadfield in Derbyshire, Hilary has lived in Botswana and Saudi Arabia, which has given her a variety of experiences that act as inspiration for the themes for her books A Change in Climate and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street.

Miles Stevenson, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Sheffield, said: "Hilary is a very distinguished author who studied Law here and then came back in our 2005 Centenary Year to receive an honorary degree in recognition of her literary achievements.

We are delighted that she has been awarded the Booker Prize and hope she will be an inspiration to our students pursuing their own literary interests and projects."