Hilary Mantel: Biography

Hilary Mantel

06 jul 1952

Hilary Mantel was born in 1952 in Derbyshire, England. She has two younger siblings and was raised by her mother and stepfather Jack Mantel. She did not see her biological father from the age of eleven and decided to take her stepfather’s name legally. She transferred from LSE to the University of Sheffield and finished her law degree there, graduating in 1973. Mantel and her husband, Gerald McEwen, moved to Botswana in 1977. They stayed there for five years before moving to Saudi Arabia for four years. She briefly divorced her husband, only to remarry again a few years later.

Mantel’s extensive travels have greatly influenced her literary works. Her novel, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, heavily drew on the experiences she had had living in Saudi Arabia.

Mantel has been critically acclaimed for every single novel that she has ever published. In 2012 she made history by being the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice and the first ever author to win the Man Booker Prize for successive books in a series: Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. She has won a long list of other prizes including the Costa Book Awards Book of the Year, the Hawthornden Prize and the David Cohen Prize. She has been given an OBE and a DBE for her services to literature.

Mantel is currently working on the final book in her Thomas Cromwell Trilogy: The Mirror and the Light. She also continues to write non-fiction works, and to write essays and reviews in publications such as the London Review of Books.