Hilary Mantel has “done the double,” as British soccer fans say.
As of today, Mantel has become the first British author, and first woman, to win the Man Booker Prize for fiction twice. She won the 2012 Prize for Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to 2009’s Wolf Hall, which also earned her a Booker.
Only South African-born J.M. Coetzee and Australian author Peter Carey have won twice before.
Earlier this year, EW’s Rob Brunner wrote in a review of Bring Up the Bodies, “In Mantel’s hands, [Thomas] Cromwell’s cunning, morally complicated orchestration of that historic slice through the royal neck is as exciting as any thriller.”
In the run-up to today’s announcement, Mantel had been the odds-on favorite to win the award, along with Will Self for his modernist novel Umbrella.
Historically, the Man Booker has been known as one of the literary prizes with the highest commercial impact. Last year’s winner, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, became a significant best-seller in the U.S. Out of the six finalists, Mantel is arguably the author in least need of the sales boost. The other shortlisted authors were Deborah Levy for Swimming Home, Tan Twan Eng for The Garden of Evening Mists, Jeet Thayil for Narcopolis, and Alison Moore for The Lighthouse.
Follow @EWStephanLee on Twitter.