Sheffield Alumna makes literary history

Image of Hilary Mantel

University of Sheffield graduate Hilary Mantel, CBE has become the first woman and the first British writer to win the prestigious Man Booker award twice.

Bring Up the Bodies, the second instalment of her trilogy charting the life of Thomas Cromwell, was also the first sequel to triumph in the prize's 43-year history. The first instalment, Wolf Hall, won three years ago.

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "We are proud and delighted that Hilary Mantel, has been awarded this wonderful honour. Her achievement as a novelist who draws on history and re-imagines it with such power is truly outstanding.
"The talent and seriousness of this work is what moved the judges of the prize and what continues to impress readers, as we hear voices from the past given new vibrancy through Hilary’s imaginative power. Truly she has 'brought up the bodies' and is showing us some of the most well-known characters of English history in a new literary light."

Sir Peter Stothard, chairman of the Booker judges, has called Hilary Mantel "the greatest modern English prose writer" who has "rewritten the book on writing historical fiction."
He added: "We are very proud to be reading English at the time she is writing. I don't think I've read any English novelist in recent years who has such complete control over the way she uses prose to do what she wants to do, like a singer or a pianist. Hilary Mantel is a writer who thinks through the blood and uses her art and power of prose to create moral ambiguities and the real uncertainty of political life then and a pale imitation of a political life now."

Hilary graduated with a degree in Law from the University in 1973. She was also awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree from the University of Sheffield in 2005. She has already begun writing the third instalment of her series, The Mirror and the Light. The BBC has bought rights to the work, and a six-hour adaptation of the first two books is planned for late 2013.

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