Dame Hilary Mantel has died ‘suddenly but peacefully’ aged 70.
A statement released by publishers HarperCollins read: “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, 70 years.
“Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics. She will be sorely missed.”
She was best known for her epic The Wolf Hall Trilogy of which Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford professor of theology and biographer of Thomas Cromwell, said: “Hilary has reworked historical patterns through the way she has reimagined the man.”
He won the Man Booker Prize twice, for Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the Costa Book of the Year in 2012.
The conclusion to her ground-breaking The Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror & the Light, was published in 2020 to huge critical acclaim, an instant number one fiction bestseller and longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which he won for the first time for Wolf Hall.
To date the Wolf Hall Trilogy has been translated into 41 languages with over 5 million sold worldwide.
Hilary Mantel was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, England on July 6, 1952.
He studied Law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University.
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.
Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed books
He is the author of seventeen acclaimed books including:
- Every day is mother’s day
- Vacant Occupancy
- Eight months on Ghazzah Street
- Fludd, winner of the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, the Cheltenham Prize and the Southern Arts Literature Prize
- A Place of Greater Safety, winner of the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award
- A change of climate
- An Experiment in Love, winner of the 1996 Hawthornden Prize
- The Giant, O’Brien,
- Beyond Black, shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize and the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction
- Learning to speak
- The assassination of Margaret Thatcher
Her non-fiction work includes the memoir Giving up the Ghost – her collected writings from the London Review of Books, Mantel Pieces and most recently The Wolf Hall Picture Book – a photographic collaboration between Hilary Mantel, Ben Miles and George Miles .
In 1990 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, in 2006 he was awarded a CBE and in 2014 he was appointed a DBE.
Dame Hilary has been Patron of Scene and Heard, a guidance play, Governor of the RSC and President of the Budleigh Festival.
Tributes to Dame Hilary Mantel
Bill Hamilton, her agent at AM Heath said: ‘I first met Hilary in 1984 after she sent the manuscript of Every Day is Mother’s Day.
“It has been the greatest privilege to work with her throughout her career and to see all the elements that made her unique come together spectacularly in The Wolf Hall Trilogy. Her wit, stylistic boldness, creative ambition, and astonishing historical insight make her one of the greatest novelists of our time.
She will be remembered for her enormous generosity to other budding writers, her ability to galvanize a vibrant audience, and her vast range of journalism and criticism, producing some of the best commentary on issues and books.
“Emails from Hillary were peppered with quips and quips as she observed the world with delight and lashed out at the lazy or unreasonable and nailed cruelty and prejudice.
“There was always a slight aura of otherness, as he saw and felt things us mere mortals missed, but when he sensed the need for a confrontation, he fearlessly went into battle.
“And all this against the background of chronic health problems, which he faced so stoically.
“She will be missed immensely, but as a shining light for writers and readers she leaves an extraordinary legacy. Our thoughts go out to her loving husband Gerald, family and friends.”
Nicholas Pearson, former Publishing Director of the 4th Estate and Hilary’s long-time editor, said: “The news of Hilary’s death is devastating for her friends and everyone who worked with her.
“Hilary had a unique view of the world – picking it apart and revealing how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels – each book an unforgettable weave of luminous sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable insight.
“He seemed to know everything. She was long critically admired, but the Wolf Hall trilogy found her the massive readership she long deserved.
“Read her late books, but also read her early books, which are just as bold and take the reader to strange places.
“As a person Hilary was kind, generous and loving, always a great champion of other writers. She was a pleasure to work with.
“Just last month I sat with her on a sunny afternoon in Devon as she talked excitedly about the new novel she had started.
“That we will not be pleased with her words is unbearable. What we have is a body of work that will be read for generations.
“We have to be thankful for that. She will be missed and my thoughts are with her husband Gerald.”
Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins said: “This is terrible, tragic news and we are filled with sadness for Hilary’s family and friends, especially her devoted husband Gerald.
“We are so proud that 4th Estate and HarperCollins were Hilary’s publisher and for such an unparalleled work. A writer to the core, Hilary was one of the greatest of her generation – a serious, fearless novelist with enormous empathy for her subjects of .
“Who else could have brought Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and the huge cast of The Wolf Hall Trilogy to life with such
insight, weakness and humanity but her?
“We will all miss Hilary’s company, her wisdom, her humor and her incredible literary legacy – she will be read as long as people are still reading.”