Dame Hilary Mantel, the best-selling British author of the award-winning Wolf Hall Tudor trilogy, passed away peacefully on Thursday at the age of 70, her publisher said.
Most important points:
- British writer Dame Hilary Mantel passed away “peacefully surrounded by family and friends”
- The 70-year-old was most famous for her award-winning and best-selling Wolf Hall trilogy
- Two of the books in the series won the Booker Prize
Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, released three years later, collectively sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy.
The series finale, The Mirror & the Light, was released in March 2020.
“It is with great sadness that HarperCollins announces that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE passed away peacefully yesterday surrounded by close family and friends,” said a statement on the website of her publishing company 4th Estate Books, which is owned by HarperCollins.
“Hilary Mantel will always be remembered as a truly original writer. She leaves behind a remarkable body of work that inspires readers around the world.”
‘One of the greatest novelists of our time’
The Wolf Hall trilogy, which has been serialized by the BBC, charted the fate of Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith’s son who rose to become King Henry VIII’s most powerful advisor but fell from favor and met a horrific end .
“Her caustic wit, stylistic audacity, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight characterize her as one of the greatest novelists of our time,” said her agent Bill Hamilton.
Hamilton said Mantel, who spoke of long-term pain and fatigue caused by endometriosis, had dealt “courageously” with chronic health conditions.
Mantel studied law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University and first worked as a social worker.
She turned to writing fiction while living in Botswana for five years with her geologist husband Gerald McEwen.
The couple divorced, a split Cloak attributed to her illness and the infertility caused by the treatment she received for it, but later remarried.
Mantel also lived in Saudi Arabia for four years and returned to Britain in the mid-1980s.
Her first novel, Everyday is Mother’s Day, was published in 1985. In total, she wrote 17 books, including non-fiction.
“What terribly sad news. It is impossible to overestimate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind,” Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter.
“Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the culmination of an outstanding body of work. Rest in peace.”