Booker Prize-winning British novelist Hilary Mantel dies at 70

British novelist Hilary Mantel, the first writer to win the prestigious Booker Prize twice, has died at the age of 70, her publisher HarperCollins announced on Friday.

“It is with great sadness that HarperCollins announces that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel died peacefully, surrounded by family and close friends, yesterday (Thursday) at the age of 70,” the publishing house said. in a press release.

Since the publication of her first book in 1985, “C’est tous les jours la fête des mères”, the writer had published 17 books, but is best known for her trilogy “The Advisor”, dedicated to the tumultuous life of Thomas Cromwell, one of the main actors of the Reformation in England.

The first two parts of the series translated into 41 languages, “In the Shadow of the Tudors” and “Le Pouvoir”, earned him twice the prestigious Booker Prize. The last part, “The Mirror and the Light”, published in 2020, had also been praised by critics, and caused queues in front of bookstores on the day of its release.

Born on July 6, 1952 in Derbyshire into a family of Irish descent, Hilary Mantel (née Thompson) grew up with the disadvantage of being “woman, from the North and poor”, she said in her memoir “Giving Up the Ghost”, published in 2003.

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She also imagined her life with a daughter she never had, who had become infertile after an operation for endometriosis, a then little-known disease from which she suffered for a long time.

Baptized Catriona, he is undoubtedly the most heartbreaking ghost of the many ghosts that dot his work.

After studying law at the London School of Economics, then at the University of Sheffield, she followed her geologist fiancé who later became her husband, living in Botswana for five years, then four years in Saudi Arabia, before returning to Britain in the mid-1980s.

“Hilary was the best of her generation, of her time, an important, courageous novelist, with immense empathy for her subjects. (…) His company, his wisdom, his humor will be missed by all of us, and we will cherish his incredible literary heritage”, paid tribute to him Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins in the United Kingdom, quoted in the press release.

Each of her books was “an unforgettable web of luminous sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable vision”, hailed her former editor Nicholas Pearson, saying that the writer was still working on a new novel last month.

“She was a genius”, reacted on Twitter the author of the Harry Potter saga JK Rowling.

“Everyone at the Booker Prize is deeply saddened” by the death of Hilary Mantel, displays the Twitter account of the most famous British literary prize.

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