The author Hilary Mantel has made literary history by becoming the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice. She is also the first British person to do so.
According to the Evening Standard newspaper, the competition was a close run thing. The paper says that two of the five judges backed Will Self's novel 'Umbrella'. It was only after a meeting lasting over two hours that one then went for Hilary Mantel's book 'Bring Up The Bodies' a follow up to her previous award winning novel 'Wolf Hall'.
The books are a fictionalised version of the life of Thomas Cromwell, who had the difficult job of being chief adviser and minister to Henry VIII. 'Bring up the Bodies' focuses on the life of Anne Boleyn from Cromwell's viewpoint.
The Daily Mail says that the author, aged 60, was one of "the bookies favourites" in the lead up to the event, which has a monetary award of fifty thousand pounds. Despite some complaints after the announcement, the chairman of the judging panel, Sir Peter Stothard, insisted the book won on merit.He said:
"This is a unique accolade. This is something that no other woman has done before. This is an extraordinary book in its own right.It’s about novels, not novelists. It’s about texts, not reputations.This prize was set up for books that will be around for decades to come. They are texts that will live on because each time you read them it’s a different text".
Only two other authors have won the award twice, South African J.M. Coetzee and Australian Peter Carey.The first Booker Prize was awarded in 1969 and is, according to The Independent, "awarded for the best novel written in English by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland".The Guardian says that Mantel's reaction to the award was a joke;"You wait 20 years for a Booker prize and then two come along at once." Hilary Mantel is working on the third book in the series to be called 'The Mirror and the Light'. The BBC has bought the rights with a mini-series adaption of 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring up the Bodies' planned for the autumn season in 2013.