Dame Hilary was best known for her historical trilogy Wolf Hall, about the life of Thomas Cromwell, which later became made it to TV screens and became a hit West End show.
Tributes have come in for the author, after her literary agency 4th Estate Books announced on Twitter: ‘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.’
Dame Hilary won the Man Booker Prize twice, for Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year.
The conclusion to her ground-breaking The Wolf Hall Trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, was published in 2020 to huge critical acclaim, an instant number one fiction best-seller and longlisted for The Booker Prize 2020 and winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which she first won for Wolf Hall.
The trilogy, which charts the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII, has been translated into 41 languages, with sales of more than five million worldwide, HarperCollins has said.
It was later adapted for the stage and screen, with the Royal Shakespeare Company putting on productions of the first two books in 2013 and in 2021 The Mirror & the Light was staged in London, having been adapted by Dame Hilary, with Ben Miles playing Cromwell.
The BBC also adapted the story into a TV series which was first broadcast on BBC Two in 2015, starring Sir Mark Rylance as Cromwell, and later won three Bafta awards and a Golden Globe.
Paying tribute, publishers HarperCollins described Dame Hilary as ‘one of the greatest English novelists of this century.’
Their statement went on: ‘Her beloved works are considered modern classics. She will be greatly missed.’
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, described Dame Hilary’s death as ‘such terribly sad news’.
‘It is impossible to overstate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind,’ the politician tweeted.
‘Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the crowning achievement in an outstanding body of work. Rest in peace.’
Author and screenwriter Emma Kennedy paid tribute to Dame Hilary’s ‘eternal gifts’, tweeting: ‘What a phenomenal writer she was. Eternal gifts that will be read for the rest of time. Go well Hilary. RIP.’
Journalist Caitlin Moran penned: ‘Hilary Mantel’s mind was one of the most powerful and magic machines on Earth.
‘We were lucky she wrote as much as she did, but holy hell, it’s devastating that we’ve collectively lost something so astonishing.’
As well as Wolf Hall, Dame Hilary has authored seventeen acclaimed books including The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, Vacant Possession and Every Day is Mother’s Day.
As well as this, her non-fiction work includes memoir Giving up the Ghost as well as a photography collaboration The Wolf Hall Picture Book.
In 1990 Dame Hilary was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 2006 was awarded a CBE and in 2014 she was appointed DBE.
Dame Hilary was born in Derbyshire in 1952 and studied Law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University.
She later worked as a social worker and lived in Botswana for five years and Saudi Arabia for four years before returning to Britain in the mid-1980s.
Dame Hilary married geologist Gerald McEwan in 1972, before they divorced in 1981 and remarried the year later.
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