′Wolf Hall′ author Hilary Mantel passed away | Books | DW

“It is with great sadness that AM Heath and HarperCollins announce that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE passed away suddenly but peacefully yesterday, surrounded by close family and friends, at the age of 70,” a statement read Friday on her publisher’s website. Estate Books, which is owned by HarperCollins.

“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,” the statement continued.

On Twitter, the publisher expressed its gratitude that “she left us such a beautiful body of work”.

Her novels include the critically acclaimed “Wolf Hall,” published in 2009, and its sequel, “Bring Up the Bodies,” which was published three years later, as well as the final book of the trilogy, “The Mirror & the Light,” published in 2020. The novels have been translated into 41 languages ​​and have sold more than 5 million copies worldwide. Parts one and two won the Booker Prize, and part three even made the 2020 Booker long list.

Serialized by the BBC, the novels chart the fate of Thomas Cromwell, the son of the blacksmith who rose to become King Henry VIII’s most powerful advisor, but fell from favor and met a horrific end.

Nicholas Pearson, Mantel’s longtime editor, said Mantel’s death was “devastating”.

‘Phenomenal historical insight’

“Her caustic wit, stylistic audacity, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight characterize her as one of the greatest novelists of our time,” said her longtime literary agent, Bill Hamilton, adding that her death is “a tremendous loss to literature. ” He said Mantel, who spoke of long-term pain and fatigue caused by endometriosis, had dealt with her chronic health problems stoically.

A smiling woman holds up a book with Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall written on the cover

Her ‘Wolf Hall’ trilogy has been translated into 41 languages

Mantel studied law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University and worked as a social worker. She started writing fiction when she lived in Botswana for five years with her geologist husband Gerald McEwen. Mantel also lived in Saudi Arabia for four years and returned to Britain in the mid-1980s.

Hoped to ‘become European again’

In 2014, Queen Elizabeth II made Cloak a lady, the female equivalent of a knight. Politically outspoken and an opponent of Brexit, Mantel said last year that she hoped to obtain Irish citizenship and become “a European again”.

“What terribly sad news. It is impossible to overestimate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind. Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the culmination of an outstanding body of work. Rest in peace,” said Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Twitter.

JK Rowling seems to have summed up the sorrows of the literary world in just a few words on Twitter: “We’ve lost a genius.”

(db/AP, AFP, Reuters)

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