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JK Rowling leads tributes to Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel who has died aged 70

JK Rowling has led the tributes to Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel, who has died at the age of 70. 

The bestselling author passed away surrounded by close friends ‘suddenly yet peacefully’.

Rowling told her 14 million Twitter followers: ‘We’ve lost a genius.’  

Mantel’s publisher, Harper Collins, announced the author’s death online in a statement.

She was twice winner of the Man Booker Prize – first for Wolf Hall, which sold 1 million copies in the UK alone. 

Its sequel, Bring Up The Bodies, also won the Booker Prize and the Costa Book of The Year Award in 2012.

This made the hugely popular author the first British writer to have won the Man Booker prize twice and the only writer to have done so with two consecutive novels. 

The Mirror and The Light, the final instalment in the trilogy, was an instant number one best seller when it was published in 2020. 

Mantel was made a Dame by the Queen in 2015 for her services to literature. 

Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel has died suddenly aged 70, her publisher has announced

Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel has died suddenly aged 70, her publisher has announced 

Hilary Mantel leaves behind her husband, Gerald, pictured here with the author at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2014

Hilary Mantel leaves behind her husband, Gerald, pictured here with the author at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2014

Hilary Mantel leaves behind her husband, Gerald, pictured here with the author at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2014

Mantel's publisher 4th Estate Books, owned by Harpin Collins, announced the sad news on Twitter

Mantel's publisher 4th Estate Books, owned by Harpin Collins, announced the sad news on Twitter

Mantel’s publisher 4th Estate Books, owned by Harpin Collins, announced the sad news on Twitter 

The Mirror and The Light, the third book in Mantel's Cromwell series, was an instant number one bestseller on its release in 2020

The Mirror and The Light, the third book in Mantel's Cromwell series, was an instant number one bestseller on its release in 2020

The Mirror and The Light, the third book in Mantel’s Cromwell series, was an instant number one bestseller on its release in 2020

Born in Derbyshire in 1952, Mantel studied law at London School of Economics and Sheffield University. 

She worked briefly as a geriatric nurse, which informed her later novels Ever Day is Mother’s Day and Vacant Possession.  

She leaves behind her husband of almost 50 years, Gerald. The pair separated briefly for two years before reuniting. 

The author said in an interview in 2020 the endometriosis she suffered throughout her life was the reason for the split.Mantel battled the illness from the age of 19. She told Radio 5: ‘You have to find a way of living with it and living around it. 

‘I have been ill most of my life, certainly since I was 19.’ 

Bill Hamilton, Dame Hilary’s agent at literary agency A.M. Heath, said it had been the ‘greatest privilege’ to work with her throughout her career.

He said: ‘Her wit, stylistic daring, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight mark her out as one of the greatest novelists of our time.

‘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 commentary on issues and books.

‘Emails from Hilary were sprinkled with bon mots and jokes as she observed the world with relish and pounced on the lazy or absurd and nailed cruelty and prejudice.

‘There was always a slight aura of otherworldliness about her, as she saw and felt things us ordinary mortals missed, but when she perceived the need for confrontation she would fearlessly go into battle.

Her novel, Wolf Hall, was turned into a hugely successful TV series starring Mark Rylance

Her novel, Wolf Hall, was turned into a hugely successful TV series starring Mark Rylance

Her novel, Wolf Hall, was turned into a hugely successful TV series starring Mark Rylance 

‘And all of that against the backdrop of chronic health problems, which she dealt with so stoically. We will miss her immeasurably, but as a shining light for writers and readers she leaves an extraordinary legacy. Our thoughts go out to her beloved husband Gerald, family and friends.’

A spokesperson for Harper Collins said: ‘We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald.

‘This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.’ 

Author and screenwriter Emma Kennedy paid tribute to Mantel’s ‘eternal gifts’.

She tweeted: ‘What a phenomenal writer she was. Eternal gifts that will be read for the rest of time. Go well Hilary. RIP.’

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted ‘it is impossible to overstate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind’.

She added: ‘Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the crowning achievement in an outstanding body of work. Rest in peace.’

Source: Dailymail

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