Wolf Hall author Dame Hilary Mantel says Booker Prize snub ‘freed her’


Wolf Hall author Dame Hilary Mantel says Booker Prize snub ‘freed her’ as acclaimed writer misses chance to win award for final book in Thomas Cromwell series

  • Hilary Mantel was hoping to scoop a third win for her novel on Thomas Cromwell
  • Her novel The Mirror and the Light did not reach the six-book Booker shortlist 
  • She won the award in 2009 and 2012 for the first two volumes in the series

Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel said she is disappointed but feels ‘freed’ after finding out she is not on this year’s Booker Prize shortlist.

Dame Hilary was hoping to scoop a third win for the final novel in her historical trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, having won in 2009 and 2012 for the first two volumes.

But The Mirror and the Light did not reach the six-book shortlist, despite judge and novelist Lee Child saying it is ‘an absolutely wonderful novel’.

Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel said she is disappointed but feels ‘freed’ after finding out she is not on this year’s Booker Prize shortlist

The panel selected four debuts from Diane Cook, Avni Doshi, Douglas Stuart and Brandon Taylor and two new novels from African writers Tsitsi Dangarembga and Maaza Mengiste.

Dame Hilary said: ‘Although disappointing on one level it was quite freeing on one level.’ 

She added that the announcement meant she could finally draw a line under the trilogy and move into a new phase of writing.

Dame Hilary was hoping to scoop a third win for the final novel in her historical trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, having won in 2009 and 2012 for the first two volumes

Dame Hilary was hoping to scoop a third win for the final novel in her historical trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, having won in 2009 and 2012 for the first two volumes

Comparing it with previous instalments Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, she said The Mirror And The Light was the ‘most complex’ of the trilogy, as well as being the hardest to write and the ‘most demanding’ of the reader.

She told the Guardian: ‘I respect the judges’ decision because I’ve been a judge and it’s very hard. 

‘I accept that books are born in a certain cultural moment.  

‘They surf on the tide of the times.’

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