Friday, October 9, 2009

Wolf Hall Wins 2009 Booker Prize

On Tuesday, author Hilary Mantel was named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for 2009 for her novel, Wolf Hall, published by Fourth Estate. Wolf Hall had been the bookies' favorite since the longlist was announced in July 2009. Mantel's book was picked from a shortlist of six titles. The other authors on the shortlist were A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee, Adam Foulds, Simon Mawer, and Sarah Waters.

Wolf Hall is set in the 1520s and tells the story of Thomas Cromwell's rise to prominence in the Tudor court. Mantel has been praised by critics for writing "a rich, absorbingly readable historical novel; she has made a significant shift in the way any of her readers interested in English history will henceforward think about Thomas Cromwell."

James Naughtie, chair of the Booker Judges Panel, comments, "Hilary Mantel has given us a thoroughly modern novel set in the 16th century. Wolf Hall has a vast narrative sweep that gleams on every page with luminous and mesmerising detail. It probes the mysteries of power by examining and describing the meticulous dealings in Henry VIII's court, revealing in thrilling prose how politics and history is made by men and women. In the words of Mantel's Thomas Cromwell, whose story this is, 'the fate of peoples is made like this, two men in small rooms. Forget the coronations, the conclaves of cardinals, the pomp and processions. This is how the world changes.'"

Mantel spent five years writing Wolf Hall and is currently working on a sequel. The book has not yet been released in the United States but is due to hit US shelves (from Henry Holt) next Tuesday. Mantel has written short stories, a memoir and both contemporary and historical novels. Prior to being selected as the Booker winner, Mantel had this to say: "The whole business of prizes puts authors under huge pressure, and I think it's important to keep working, concentrating on the next book. You're really only as good as the last sentence you wrote. The idea of authors competing with each other is strange, not strange on a worldly level, but on a psychic level - I have always seen myself as locked in competition with myself, my own doubts and hesitations, my own limitations, and like any working writer I live with a daily process of selecting and judging and discarding which is fiercer than anything that can happen in the outside world."

We anticipate having copies of Wolf Hall at Broadway Books early next week, so please let us know if you want us to hold a copy for you.

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