A HUGE Grazia pat on the back to author Hilary Mantel. Last night, she took home the 2012 Man Booker Prize (and £50,000 thank you very much) for her book Bring Up The Bodies. The judges, including Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens, whittled the 145 entries down to a long list back in July with the final shortlist of six titles announced at the beginning of September.
As well as fighting off the stiff competition, to be in the running for this prestigious literary accolade, you must have written a novel and be a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.
But Hilary’s achievement, although in itself is pretty awesome, is even more incredible for several reasons. Firstly, she is the only woman and indeed only the third person to ever win the prize twice. Only Peter Carey and J.M. Coetzee have managed it previously, making her the only Brit to take the double as these guys hail from Australia and South Africa respectively.
Not only that, Bring Up The Bodies is the only sequel in the prize’s history to nab the award which is even more amazing because just three years ago, Hilary won the 2009 Man Booker Prize for the first instalment, Wolf Hall.
Understandably, it came as quite a shock. ‘You wait 20 years for a Booker prize and then two come along at once’, said 60-year old Hilary of her win. Quite! But with the final part of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy still to come, we’re now wondering, can Hilary make it a hat-trick?