The acclaimed author, who received the prestigious award for two of the books in her landmark “Wolf Hall” trilogy, died peacefully on Thursday, surrounded by close family and friends, according to her agent.
Mantel was born in Derbyshire, England in 1952. After a year of law school at London’s School of Economics, she transferred to Sheffield University, graduating in 1973.
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She was a film critic for the British cultural affairs magazine The Spectator from 1987 to 1991 and published her first novel, ‘Every Day is Mother’s Day’ in 1985.
But it wasn’t until the publication of her 10th novel, ‘Wolf Hall’, in 2009 that Mantel became a household name.
Set in Tudor, England and focusing on the life and times of Henry VIII statesman and Prime Minister Thomas Cromwell, “Wolf Hall” won the 2009 Booker Prize.
A 2015 TV adaptation of “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies,” starring Mark Rylance as Cromwell and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII, was nominated for eight Primetime Emmys.
In 2020, eight years after the release of “Bring Up the Bodies”, the highly anticipated final installment of the “Wolf Hall” trilogy, “The Mirror and the Light”, was released. A stage version, co-edited by Mantel and actor Ben Miles, came to London’s West End in 2021.
Since the news of her death broke, tributes from the literary world have been pouring out on social media. Fourth Estate, the original publisher of “Wolf Hall”, shared his condolences on Twitter, writing: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald. This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful that she left us such a beautiful body of work.”
“We’ve lost a genius,” tweeted Harry Potter author JK Rowling.