Hilary Mantel, the two-time Booker Prize winner, passed away on 23rd September 2022 at the age of 70. Her literary legacy was filled with personal memoirs and short stories.
What made Hilary Mantel different from others was her art of waving historical incidents into fictional tales that still remained historically accurate. Two of her such books, Wolf Hall (2009) and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies (2012), were awarded Booker Prize, whereas the third instalment of the book, The Mirror and the Light was longlisted nominee for the same award.
Influence of History and Personal Experiences in Hilary Mantel’s writings
Hilary Mantel began writing her first novel A Place of Greater Safety, in 1974 about the French Revolution. The novel revolved around the lives of three revolutionists and their journey from their childhood to becoming revolutionists. But the book was not published until 1992 as nobody was ready to publish it. Later the book won the Sunday Express Book of the Year award.
Mantel’s first officially published book was Every Day is Mother’s Day, which was published in 1985. The book threw light on Mantel’s experiences while working in the social work department of a geriatric hospital. Although the book is of the fiction genre.
Apart from this, she wrote many short stories. One of her collections of short stories is called The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. About which she spoke in an interview published in The Guardian, in the year 2014, that she had always fantasised about the murder of the British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and fictionalised the event in a short story.
Her Booker awardee book, Wolf Hall (2009) revolved around the historic event of the rise of Thomas Cromwell to power in the court of Henry VIII through. This book turned out to be a masterpiece and was loved by the critics as well. The sequel of the book was called Bring up the Bodies (2012) which continued the story and was awarded with the Booker Prize as well in.
The last book of this series was The Mirror and the Light (2020) which completed the Thomas Cromwell trilogy and Hilary Mantel’s writing career.
Her death was confirmed by her publisher, the Fourth Edition, on their Twitter handle.
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. pic.twitter.com/d8bzkBBXuH
— 4th Estate Books (@4thEstateBooks) September 23, 2022
Many authors paid tribute to Hilary Mantel and expressed grief on their respective social media handles.
Author Sam Knight wrote a note as he lost her favourite writer.
Hilary Mantel was the only person who ever sent me an email that left me in tears, when she liked my book. She was my favourite writer: the one I was most afraid of reading, because what was point, given her sentences, her soul and her mind. What a wonderful ghost she will be.
— Sam Knight (@samknightwrites) September 23, 2022
Journalist and author Lucia Osborne Crowley shared an excerpt from one of the writings of Hilary Mantel on her twitter.
Beautiful Hilary Mantel passage: “You glimpse the ghosts of other lives you might had led; all houses are haunted.” pic.twitter.com/7L39dyf392
— Lucia Osborne-Crowley (@LuciaOC_) September 23, 2022
Former New York Times’ book critic, Parul Sehgal called the loss of Hilary Mantel as a ‘theft of a kind’.
The loss of Hilary Mantel feels like a theft of a kind. All those books we still needed from her. That lavish imagination, that beady understanding of power. From the final book in the trilogy: “This is what life does for you in the end; it arranges a fight you can’t win.”
— Parul Sehgal (@parul_sehgal) September 23, 2022