Wolf Hall author Dame Hilary Mantel dies aged 70

Budleigh loses a celebrated resident

Wolf Hall writer Dame Hilary Mantel has died “suddenly yet peacefully” surrounded by close family and friends aged 70, HarperCollins has announced. She was also famed for the follow-up novels Bring Up The Bodies and The Mirror and The Light.

Phil Norris www.devonlive.com 

In a statement, 4th Estate Books wrote: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald.

“This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.”

Dame Hilary is best known for her epic The Wolf Hall Trilogy of which Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford theology professor and biographer of Thomas Cromwell said: “Hilary has reset the historical patterns through the way in which she’s reimagined the man.”

She won the Man Booker Prize twice, for Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year. The conclusion to her ground-breaking The Wolf Hall Trilogy,

The Mirror and the Light, was published in 2020 to huge critical acclaim, an instant number one fiction best-seller and longlisted for The Booker Prize 2020 and winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which she first won for Wolf Hall.

Bill Hamilton, Dame Hilary’s agent at literary agency A.M. Heath, said it had been the “greatest privilege” to work with her throughout her career. He said: “Her wit, stylistic daring, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight mark her out as one of the greatest novelists of our time.

“She will be remembered for her enormous generosity to other budding writers, her capacity to electrify a live audience, and the huge array of her journalism and criticism, producing some of the finest commentary on issues and books.

“Emails from Hilary were sprinkled with bon mots and jokes as she observed the world with relish and pounced on the lazy or absurd and nailed cruelty and prejudice.

“There was always a slight aura of otherworldliness about her, as she saw and felt things us ordinary mortals missed, but when she perceived the need for confrontation she would fearlessly go into battle.

“And all of that against the backdrop of chronic health problems, which she dealt with so stoically. We will miss her immeasurably, but as a shining light for writers and readers she leaves an extraordinary legacy. Our thoughts go out to her beloved husband Gerald, family and friends.”

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