The announcement came down today that Hillary Mantel was awarded the 2012 Man Booker Prize for her novel, Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to her novel Wolf Hall, which also won the award in 2009. The repeat victory makes her only the third two-time winner of the esteemed prize, given annually to the best novel written by an author who hails from the UK, or any of the former British colonies (not including the United States). Only Peter Carey and J.M. Coetzee have won the award twice, and with Bring Up the Bodies, Mantel became the first author to win with a book that is also a sequel.
Both of Mantel’s books are a historical fiction retelling of the rise of Thomas Cromwell during the reign of Henry VIII, and have been praised not only for helping bring the historical novel back into prominence, but also for being some of the finest examples of the genre ever written.
Among notable winners of this prize in the past are Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Julain Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, which are both core novels in our Contemporary Literature class. Further notable winners include William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, for his novel, Rites of Passage, Thomas Keneally, whose Schindler’s Ark was turned into a powerful movie directed by Stephen Spielberg, and Salman Rushdie, whose 1981 novel Midnight’s Children was recently awarded the “Best of the Booker” prize for being the greatest novel to ever win the award.