Man Booker winner 2012: Hilary Mantel

So who saw that coming? Hilary Mantel won again! She is now the third author to have won the Booker twice – the other two are J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey. So three authors have won the Booker prize twice and that’s pretty impressive. However, Hilary Mantel is the first to have won for the two first books in a trilogy. She’s the first to have won for a sequel. She’s the first woman to have won the award twice. She’s even the first British writer to have won the award twice! I can’t believe what pressure that much put on her when she sits down to write the third one!


Anyway, Hilary Mantel has now won for both Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, the first two books in her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell. Wolf Hall is about Thomas Cromwell’s rise to fame and succeeding in getting Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn married. In Bring up the Bodies, Anne has overstayed her welcome and now Thomas Cromwell has to orchestrate her fall from grace.

It’s interesting to hear that Man Booker judge Amanda Foreman says that until the very last day, the judges hadn’t yet decided on who was going to win. She says the focus was on the novels, not the novelist. All in all, there was 145 entries – 30 of these were of former winners and finalists. Apparently, if you have won the Booker or have been on the shortlist, your next books also gets a chance to win it. The rest of the entries had to be nominated by their publishers.

I think this way of deciding who’s in the competition, rather interesting. If you are on the shortlist, you get another go – if not, it’s the publisher that nominate you. Not book stores, sales numbers or the public. But out of these 145 books, the judges’ task is to find the best book. And according to the judges, that book is Bring up the Bodies:

It was getting towards 3pm when Stothard held up his hand and declared it was apparent that Hilary Mantel was the winner. It was not that we were tired of deliberating, or that there was nothing more to be said about the books. But the strain of our discussions had become clear. Mantel had achieved an insurmountable measure of excellence that we all recognised and applauded. Only later did we take a step back to consider her great achievement as the first woman and first Briton to win the Man Booker twice. For us, our satisfaction is the knowledge that this feat was never a consideration.

Source:  Amanda Foreman: We were choosing the best novel of the year for the Telegraph

The big question now of course is: Will Hilary Mantel win again in 2015 for The Mirror and the Light, the third book in the trilogy?

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