Hilary Mantel, the author of the 2009 novel Wolf Hall and other works of historical fiction, has passed away at the age of 70. She is being widely praised as one of the best British novelists of her time.
News of Mantel’s death was posted by her publisher 4th Estate, which said in a statement:
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.
Hilary Mantel began her writing career in 1985, penning a dozen novels and many short stories and articles. She will be most remembered for her trilogy of books centering around the 16th-century English politician Thomas Cromwell. The first novel, Wolf Hall, was released in 2009, earning critical acclaim including winning the Man Booker Prize. It was followed by Bring Up the Bodies in 2012, which also won the Man Booker Prize, and The Mirror and the Light in 2020.
Nicholas Pearson, former Publishing Director of 4th Estate and Hilary’s long-term editor, commented, “The news of Hilary’s death is devastating to her friends and everyone who worked with her. Hilary had a unique outlook on the world — she picked it apart and revealed how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels — every book an unforgettable weave of luminous sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable insight. She seemed to know everything. For a long time she was critically admired, but The Wolf Hall Trilogy found her the vast readership she long deserved. Read her late books, but read her early books too, which are similarly daring and take the reader to strange places. As a person Hilary was kind and generous and loving, always a great champion of other writers. She was a joy to work with. Only last month I sat with her on a sunny afternoon in Devon, while she talked excitedly about the new novel she had embarked on. That we won’t have the pleasure of any more of her words is unbearable. What we do have is a body of work that will be read for generations. We must be grateful for that. I will miss her and my thoughts are with her husband Gerald.”
Many people have posted comments online about Hilary Mantel and her influence:
Profoundly, profoundly shocked. She is was my favourite living author in the English language. I was just this week thinking "I wonder what Mantel is working on?" Devastating to think there will be no more Hilary Mantel novels. A huge loss to literature. https://t.co/Aqn4xUcTv1
— Louise D'Arcens (@ArcensD) September 23, 2022
I’ve been thinking about her over the past few weeks because she wrote one of my favourite essays on the royal family, one that I return to at least once a year. God, what a talent. https://t.co/RnSgsKpQ3S
— Anne Thériault (@anne_theriault) September 23, 2022
I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the death of the fabulous, extraordinary and wise, Dame Hilary Mantel. She has been such an inspiration to me, from those long nights reading the Cromwell trilogy to the fantastic 2017 Reith Lectures. A real loss.
— Helen Carr (@HelenhCarr) September 23, 2022
Hilary Mantel was a true alchemist. One of the most awe-inspiring passages in her novels is a sequence from "Bring Up the Bodies." Thomas Cromwell goes with William Kingston, Constable of the Tower, to visit Anne Boleyn in her cell. 1/
— Bruce Holsinger (@bruceholsinger) September 23, 2022
Top Image: Photo by George Miles, courtesy 4th Estate