The European Politics Blog

The Man Booker Prize 2012

Hilary Mantel has been awarded the Man Booker prize this year, for her book Bring Up the Bodies. She is the first woman and the first British author to win the literary award twice. The book forms the second of her trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex (1485 – 28 July 1540). He served as King Henry VIII’s chief minister from 1532 to 1540. A champion of the English Reformation, he helped to end the King’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which would lead him to marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn, five days later. Boleyn gave birth to Elizabeth, who would go on to become Elizabeth I of England. The book explores the nine months of events in 1535 which lead to the execution of Anne Boleyn.

Bring Up the Bodies is also the first sequel to win the £50,000 prize in its 43-year history. Mantel was first awarded the prize for her first book of the series, Wolf Hall, three years ago. “You wait 20 years for a Booker prize and then two come along at once.” was the subtle gratitude she gave the prize upon receiving it in London on the 16th of October. She further stated that it was a vote of confidence and an act of faith on her workmanship. She has started working on the third instalment, titled The Mirror and the Light, and believes Bring Up the Bodies is a more complete book than Wolf Hall, a national bestseller.

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