wolf hall

Hilary Mantel, novelist, short story writer and critic was last night named the winner of the 41st Booker Prize at a ceremony at Guildhall in London. The British author, whose celebrated novels include Beyond Black and Vacant Possession, won the coveted prize for her historical novel Wolf Hall, about the life of Thomas Cromwell, the advisor of British king Henry VIII. Though Mantel was an odds-on favourite, it is reported she won the prize in a 3-2 split vote.  The other favourite was J.M. Coetzee, for Summertime. (Coetzee was previously awarded the Man Booker Prize for Disgrace and Life and Times of Michael K.)

Selected by a panel of British writers, critics and broadcasters, the prestigious prize comes with £50,000 in tow – which while not the largest cash prize for a literary award, carries with it a guaranteed push in sales: last year’s winner, White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga, has sold over 500,000 copies.

The complete 2009 shortlist was made up of A.S. Byatt: The Children’s Book; J.M. Coetzee: Summertime; Adam Foulds: The Quickening Maze; Simon Mawer: The Glass Room; and Sarah Waters (a sentimental favourite, why she didn’t win in 2002 for Fingersmith still astounds me!):
The Little Stranger.

To read reviews of these novels, please click on the above links.

To read the transcript of an interview with Hilary Mantel on ABC Radio National, click here.