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Hilary Mantel becomes the first woman to win a second Man Booker Prize

Mantel's first win of the Man Booker Prize was for the first book in the trilogy, 'Wolf Hall'. She now wins for the second book, 'Bring Up the bodies.'
Mantel's first win of the Man Booker Prize was for the first book in the trilogy, 'Wolf Hall'. She now wins for the second book, 'Bring Up the bodies.'
Courtesy of the Vancouver Sun

Hilary Mantel has won this year's Man Booker Prize for Literature with her book "Bring Up the Bodies," which is the second book in her Thomas Cromwell series. The award comes with a cash prize of $82,000 (£50,000 in the UK).

Mantel becomes the first woman -- and one of three authors -- to win the prize for the second time. She previously won for the first book in the trilogy, "Wolf Hall", which made it to the US bestseller list when it was released in 2010.

Mantel's series is a new look at Thomas Cromwell, who served at the court of Henry the VIII, first as secretary to the king and finally rising to serve on Henry's Privy Counsel as right hand man. Cromwell has been portrayed in fiction as greedy, conniving, and self-serving but Mantel chose the man to be the narrator of the story. We see Henry's reign and courtship of Anne Boleyn from Cromwell's point of view.

In an interview for, Mantel explained her fascination with Cromwell.

"I have been interested in Cromwell for years, and wanted to get beyond the negative portrayal of him in popular history and fiction. He was a ruthless man, certainly, but no more so than other contemporary politicians; and in Henry, a man of violent temper, he had a very demanding employer. As soon as you get back beyond the prejudices about Cromwell, you find a clever, enterprising, resilient and optimistic man, with a story well worth telling. He was at the center of Henry's court for almost ten years, and when you look at events from his point of view, they seem very different from the stories of the Tudor court to which we've grown accustomed."

Hilary Mantel is known for her unique perspective on the history and characters of which she writes. She will choose a most unlikely character to act as protagonist which gives her the chance to throw the accepted historical views completely askew. That ability gives the reader a chance to see that history from another side, making the plot all the richer. Mantel's books receive critical acclaim and she has become quite popular on both sides of "the pond."

You can find the books of Hilary Mantel through all online booksellers. You can also find them locally from Joseph-Beth Booksellers in the Lexington Green Mall or from Barnes & Noble in the Hamburg Pavilion Shopping Center at the corner of Man o' War BLVD and Sir Barton Way.

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