Mantel wins Man Booker for second time
Hilary Mantel (Pictured) became the first British author, and the first woman, to win the Man Booker Prize twice. Her best-selling novel, 'Bring Up The Bodies', beat five other shortlisted titles including Will Self's 'Umbrella', which was the bookmakers' favourite. The judges said it 'utterly surpassed' its predecessor, 'Wolf Hall', which won her the prize in 2009
Bring Up the Bodies chronicles the downfall of Anne Boleyn through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to Henry VIII.
Sir Peter Stothard, chairman of the judges, hailed Mantel as "the greatest English prose writer" of modern times and praised her ability to re-cast one of the most familiar episodes in British history.
"This is a bloody story of the death of Anne Boleyn but Hilary Mantel is a writer who thinks through the blood," he said.
"It is a well-trodden story and yet she has the ability to bring it to life as though for the first time."
The win came as a happy surprise for Mantel (60). "Nobody, including me, expects a writer to do it twice," she said after being shortlisted. "But it would not be human to not want to win."
Only two writers have done the double before: JM Coetzee and Peter Carey, who hail from South Africa and Australia respectively.
Mantel, a former social worker, first attempted historical fiction in 1979 with 'A Place of Greater Safety', set during the French Revolution. It was continually rejected and did not see the light of day until 1992.
The BBC is adapting Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, into a six-part period drama. (© Daily Telegraph, London)