UK & World News
Hilary Mantel Wins Her Second Booker Prize
Hilary Mantel has become the first British writer to win the Man Booker Prize For Fiction twice after her novel Bring Up The Bodies was named the best book of the year.
The 60-year-old writer, who won in 2009 for the first part of her historical trilogy, Wolf Hall, received the honour at a ceremony in London.
Accepting her prize she said: "Well I don't know, you wait 20 years for a Booker Prize and two come along at once."
She added that she regarded the award as an "act of faith and a vote of confidence".
Sir Peter Stothard, who chaired the judging panel, said the book, which forms the second part of Mantel's trilogy on the life of Thomas Cromwell, "utterly surpassed" the first volume.
He said: "She uses her art, her power of prose, to create moral ambiguity and the real uncertainty of political life, political life then and the pale imitation of political life now".
He said the book, which concentrates on the end of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn, had made "one of the best-known pieces of English history" come alive again "as though for the first time".
Sir Peter compared the work with that of novelist DH Lawrence and likened Cromwell to the main character in Mario Puzo's Godfather books.
He said: "I think you could see, if you're looking to compare it, you could see as much Don Corleone in this book as DH Lawrence.
"There is certainly a Godfather element to this book including the moral ambiguity of the Don Corleone Cromwell figure."
The judges, who included Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens, spent just over two hours making their decision in what Sir Peter described as a "rigorous process of literary criticism".
Mantel received a cheque for £50,000 at the event at Guildhall after seeing off competition from five other contenders including journalist and novelist Will Self's book Umbrella, which had been among the favourites to win.
Also in the running was Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, a novel which was originally rejected by traditional publishers.
Two of the books on the list were debut novels - 53-year-old Indian performance poet, songwriter and guitarist Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis and Manchester-born Alison Moore's The Lighthouse.
The sixth book was The Garden Of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, about the survivor of a Second World War Japanese prison camp.
The win is expected to boost Mantel's sales. Last year's winner, The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes, has sold more than 300,000 print editions in the UK.
Only Peter Carey, an Australian, and South African writer JM Coetzee have won the prestigious prize twice before.
Both books in Mantel's trilogy are being televised by the BBC.
Mantel said she now faced the "very difficult" job of writing the final book in the trilogy.
"I assure you I have no expectations I will be standing here again," she joked.