Best-selling author Hilary Mantel has passed away at the age of 70.
The writer, best known for the Wolf Hall trilogy, died “suddenly but peacefully” surrounded by family and close friends yesterday.
Her literary agents and publisher today described her as “one of the greatest English novelists of the century”.
Mrs. Hilary has twice won the Man Booker Prize for Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year.
The series finale, The Mirror & the Light, was published in 2020 and became an instant bestseller.
To date, the saga has been translated into 41 languages with over five million sales worldwide, filmed for a Golden Globe-winning television adaptation and became a successful West End show.
Confirming her death, AM Heath and HarperCollins said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that best-selling author Mrs. Hilary Mantell DBE passed away suddenly and quietly yesterday, surrounded by close relatives and friends, at the age of 70.
Hilary Mantell was one of the greatest English novelists of the century and her beloved works are considered modern classics.
“We will miss her very much, and she will always be remembered as a truly original writer.
“She leaves behind an impressive body of work that inspires readers around the world.”
Mrs. Hillary was born in Glosop, Derbyshire, in 1952, and studied law at the London School of Economics and the University of Sheffield.
She later worked in Botswana and Saudi Arabia before returning to the UK where her career took off in the mid-1980s.
The famous author penned 17 acclaimed books including Every Day Is Mother’s Day, Vacant Possession, Flood and Learn to Speak.
But most famously, she is credited with revitalizing historical fiction with the Wolf Hall trilogy about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the 16th century.
The story was revived by the BBC, and stars Mark Rylance as Cromwell, Damien Lewis as Henry VIII, and Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn.
She was awarded a CBE in 2006 and a Dame in 2014 for services to literature.
Her agent Bill Hamilton said it was the “greatest privilege” to work with her throughout her career.
“Her intelligence, stylistic audacity, creative ambition, and tremendous historical insight make her one of the greatest novelists of our time,” he said.
We will miss her immeasurably, but she leaves an extraordinary legacy as a shining light for writers and readers.
“She will be remembered for her tremendous generosity to other emerging writers, her ability to impress a live audience, and the enormous range of journalism and criticism, resulting in the production of some of the best commentaries on issues and books.
“Emails from Hillary have been sprinkled with kind jokes and jokes as she watches the world with amusement and pounces on laziness or silly, cruelty and prejudice.
“There was always a slight aura of another world around her, as she saw and felt things that we ordinary mortals would miss, but when she realized the need for confrontation, she would fight the battle fearlessly.
And all against the background of chronic health problems that she dealt with rigorously.
“We will miss her infinitely, but she leaves an extraordinary legacy as a shining light for writers and readers.”
Nicholas Pearson, longtime editor of Dame Hilary added: “Hilary had a unique view of the world–she chose it and revealed how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels–each book weaving an unforgettable spin on luminous sentences, unforgettable characters, and fascinating insight.”
She seemed to know everything.
“It’s been hugely admired for a long time, but the Wolf Hall trilogy has long found it the wide readership it deserves.
“As a person, Hilary has been kind, generous, loving, and has always been a great hero to other writers. She has been a pleasure working with her.”
While HarperCollins CEO Charlie Redmayne said: “It will be read as long as people continue to read.”
“We’ve lost a genius,” said J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter.
Mrs. Hillary is survived by her husband, geologist Gerald McQueen, whom she married in 1972.