The first Brit and the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice. From the LA Times:
It’s not often that someone accepts one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world by comparing it to a bus.
“You wait 20 years for a Booker Prize, and two come along at once,” Hilary Mantel joked after taking the stage in London on Tuesday night to accept the 2012 Man Booker Prize for “Bring Up the Bodies,” the second novel in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy.
Mantel also won the Booker for the first book in the series, “Wolf Hall,” in 2009. She is the first woman to be a two-time winner of the prize, Britain’s most prestigious award for literary fiction. The winner receives about $80,000.
“Wolf Hall,” praised for its lively evocation of the vicious intrigue of the court of Henry VIII, was a critical and commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic. “Bring Up the Bodies” has followed suit; the L.A. Times wrote that it is “more than the equal of its predecessor when it comes to intensity and drama.”
In “Bring Up the Bodies,” Mantel demonstrates a gift for the deliciously gory detail. This is her Cromwell on the doomed Anne Boleyn: “The colours should have had a fresh maidenly charm; but all he could think of were stretched innards, umbles and tripes, grey-pink intestines looped out of a living body … slit up and galloched by the hangman…. The pearls around her long neck looked to him like beads of fat, and as she argued she would reach up and tug them; he kept his eyes on her fingertips, nails flashing like tiny knives.”
I can’t find now the critics who are saying things about her being the most brilliant writer in English alive. And that’s too bad, because, of course, even last year many people were struggling with the idea that a woman might write as well as at man at all, as cornsay alerted us.