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Wolf Hall wins the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

abstract:Hilary Mantel is tonight, Tuesday 6 October, named the winner of the 50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for Wolf Hall: A Novel, (Fourth Estate, 650 Pg) It is the story of Thomas Cromwell, a man who rose from humble beginnings as a blacksmith's son to become the 1st Earl of Essex and the chief advisor, fixer, and administrator to King Henry VIII during his reign, 1532-1540.

Says Mantel when asked what she likes about the Tudor period, "It has sex, melodrama, betrayal, seduction and violent death - what more could you want?" In interviews Hilary has said that it took her 5 years to write the book. She does not claim to be a historian, but she does careful research into the man and the times and this time she decided to choose an intimate point of view for the story, one that has captivated both her readers and the jury. Says Mantel, "I don't write historic fiction, rather I write contemporary fiction about people in history." Says a blogger, "It's a study of a politician: flawed, and prepared to do things which are questionable, even immoral, to get the result he wants. At the same time his humanity is an important part of the picture, and that's why we see him so much with his family. She even manages to make that old monster Henry VIII understandable, if not sympathetic." Learn more about the author, download excerpts to your phone and access links to author readings from the shortlist.


October 07, 2009

About The Author

This is Hilary Mantel's eleventh novel. It has been the bookies' favourite since the longlist was announced in July 2009. She is the first favourite to win the prize since Life of Pi by Yann Martel won in 2002 and went on to sell over a million copies. is a website with excellent information on UK writers. Details of import gleaned from there are that she graduated from Law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University and lived in Botswana for 5 years followed by Saudi Arabia for 4. Returning to the UK in the mid '80s she writes "a clear, cool style; she is detached and distant, observing with an acute eye the tragedies and horrors of human failings, of evil, and of the impotence of all attempts to impose order upon the world." (CW) She received her CBE in 2006.

To download a free audio extract of Wolf Hall to your mobile phone Text MBP to 60300 (text messages charged at your standard network rate) or follow the link (only viewable on mobile internet) or visit our audio page to listen online. To download the Readers Guide go here.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel was picked from a shortlist that included novels by A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee, Adam Foulds, Simon Mawer and Sarah Waters. The Arts Correspondant, Rebecca Jones of the BBC did interviews with each of the four short-listed writers and the audio and excerpts of the books appear at the link provided. (I have never seen Coetzee speak, so this is a rare treat, everyone.) Read more about the winning book and author and the shortlist.

History of the Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969. It promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008, aims to reward the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. The Man Booker judges are selected from the country's finest critics, writers and academics to maintain the consistent excellence of the prize. The winner of the Man Booker Prize receives 50,000 and both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus a dramatic increase in book sales.The Man Booker International Prize, awarded every two years, recognises one writer for their achievement in fiction. This prize was first awarded in 2005.

Short Listed Authors

The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds. Set in 1840 in a mental asylum in Eping Forest where the author himself grew up, in the story also where two important poets lives intersect. John Clare a modernist has been struggling with alcohol and depression, and Tennyson the Victorian genius. (BBC Audiofile)

Summertime by J.M. Coetzee. Already a Nobel Prize winner and twice Man Booker winner, this novel is apparently Coetzee's most biographical to date. A staunch believer that the work speak for itself, Coetzee takes no interviews. He did dain to do a reading of this novel. He's also a strict vegetarian, an avid cyclist, and in his writing, a disciplinarian. (BBC Audiofile)

The LIttle Stranger by Sarah Waters. Sarah has been coined "the Booker Bridesmaid" as she's been shortlisted 3 times. A lesbian writer, Sarah claims that she writes for a larger audience, but does not want to see her regular readers disappointed that there are no lesbian characters in this novel. She wanted to write about ghosts and about troubled psyches, but it is also a story about Britain after WWII when the class structure of society changed. (BBC Audiofile)

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. Most people know her as the author of Possession which won her her first Booker Prize in 1990. The Children's Book is a multi-layered, sprawling 600-page saga, that follows the fortunes of several families and their friends from 1895 to the beginning of the first world war. At its centre is Olive Wellwood, a successful children's author, who writes a separate private book for each of her children. But as well as being about storytelling, The Children's Book is a meticulously researched historical novel, which charts the rise of Fabianism, Anarchism and Feminism. (BBC Audiofile)

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer. The Glass Room is about a spectacular modern house, built of glass and steel in Czechoslovakia in 1929. It is based on a real house, the Villa Tugendhat in Brno in today's Czech Republic, which was designed by the German architect Mies van der Rohe. The novel follows the fortunes of those who live in the house during sixty years of Czechoslovakia's turbulent history - from the German occupation in 1939 through the post-war Communist period and beyond. (BBC Audiofile)



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