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Hilary Mantel, acclaimed 'Wolf Hall' author, dead at 70
The acclaimed writer, who received the prestigious award for two of the books in her historical "Wolf Hall" trilogy, died peacefully on Thursday surrounded by close family and friends, according to her agent.
In a blog post online, her agent, Bill Heath, said: "It is with great sadness that A.M. Heath and HarperCollins announce that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE died suddenly yet peacefully yesterday, surrounded by close family and friends, aged 70. Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics. She will be greatly missed."
Mantel was born in Derbyshire, England in 1952. After studying Law for one year at London's School of Economics, she transferred to Sheffield University and graduated in 1973.
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 centered on the life and times of statesman and chief minister to Henry VIII Thomas Cromwell, "Wolf Hall" won the 2009 Booker Prize.
Three years later, Mantel's sequel, "Bring Up the Bodies," took the prize again. "You wait 20 years for a Booker prize and then two come along at once," the author mused as she received the award, according to the Guardian. In 2014, she received a damehood for her services to literature.
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 publication of "Bring Up the Bodies," the much-anticipated final part in the "Wolf Hall" trilogy, "The Mirror and the Light," was published. A stage version, adapted jointly by Mantel and actor Ben Miles, came to London's West End in 2021.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour the same year, Mantel effused about her numerous creative projects, lamenting she "had more ideas than years left to execute them."
Since the news of her death broke, tributes from the literary world have flooded social media. Fourth Estate, the original publisher of "Wolf Hall," shared its 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 she left us with such a magnificent body of work."
"We've lost a genius," tweeted "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.