THE BOOKER PRIZE FOUNDATION, TELEGRAPH, GUARDIAN, INDEPENDENT (UK)
LONDON - The 2012 Man Booker Prize has been awarded to British author Hilary Mantel for her novel Bring Up The Bodies.
Mantel is both the first woman and the first British author to win the prize twice, the Booker Prize Foundation noted Wednesday in announcing the award. Only two other authors have received the award twice, South African J.M. Coetzee and Australian Peter Carey.
Upon receiving the prize, reports the Guardian, Mantel joked: “You wait 20 years for a Booker prize and then two come along at once.” Bring Up The Bodies is the second tome of a trilogy depicting the life of Thomas Cromwell. The first tome, Wolf Hall, won Mantel her first Booker prize in 2009.
Judges hailed the novel as a “remarkable” book that “transcends the work already written by a great English writer,” said the Independent.
“Hilary Mantel’s imaginary life of Thomas Cromwell …, Henry VIII’s right-hand man, is the finest piece of historical fiction I have ever read,” praised Sarah Crompton, the Telegraph’s Arts editor in chief. “Its literary quality is unquestionable. Mantel has a way with sentences; they unfold so beautifully on the page that they slow down your reading. Each word carries weight and movement.”
Three years ago, according to the Telegraph, Mantel said she would spend her prize money on “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.” This year, she said it would be spent on rehab and although it was “duller,” probably her pension.
On writing the third tome of her trilogy, she said, “I assure you I have no expectations that I will be standing here again.”
The prize rewards the best book of the year by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. Notable winners include William Golding, VS Naipaul, Thomas Keneally, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood. The first Booker Prize was awarded in 1969.
A summary of Bring up the Bodies, as provided by the Man Booker Foundation:
Bring up the Bodies
By Hilary Mantel
Published by Fourth Estate (£20)
The year is 1535 and Thomas Cromwell, chief Minister to Henry VIII, must work both to please the king and keep the nation safe. Anne Boleyn, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church, has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. As Henry develops a dangerous attraction to Wolf Hall’s Jane Seymour, Thomas must negotiate a ‘truth’ that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.