Dame Hilary Mantel, an author of the best-selling Wolf Hall trilogy, has died aged 70, her publisher has confirmed.
She won the Booker Prize twice, for 2009’s Wolf Hall, the first in the Thomas Cromwell series, and the 2012 follow-up Bring Up the Bodies.
In a statement, her publisher said: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel.
“This is a devastating loss; we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.”
The conclusion to her trilogy. The Mirror and the Light, was published in 2020 to much critical acclaim, became a fiction best-seller and was longlisted for The Booker Prize 2020.
Wolf Hall was a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII.
In an interview with The Guardian, Dame Hilary said it took years to research the books to ensure they were historically accurate portrayals.
She said she aimed to put the reader in “that time and that place, putting you into Henry’s entourage”.
Dame Hilary was the first woman to receive the Booker Prize twice.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling led the tributes, writing: “We’ve lost a genius.”
Author and journalist Caitlin Moran tweeted: “Hilary Mantel’s mind was one of the most powerful and magic machines on Earth. We were lucky she wrote as much a did, but it’s devastating that we’ve collectively lost something so astonishing.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Such sad news. It is impossible to overstate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind. Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the crowning achievement in an outstanding body of work. Rest in peace.”
Broadcaster Stig Abell added: “Hilary Mantel wrote historical novels that will read for centuries. Brilliant, moving, fascinating, modern yet transporting. One of the greats. What a contribution to our national life and culture.”
Bill Hamilton, Dame Hilary’s agent at literary agency A.M. Heath, said it had been the “greatest privilege” to work with her.
“She will be remembered for her enormous generosity to other budding writers, her capacity to electrify a live audience, and the huge array of her journalism and criticism, producing some of the finest commentaries on issues and books.