World famous author dies ‘suddenly’

The acclaimed writer, who won the prestigious award for two of the books in her Wolf Hall trilogy, died peacefully on Thursday surrounded by close family and friends, according to her agent, Bill Heath.“It is with great sadness that A.M. Heath and HarperCollins announce that best-selling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE died suddenly yet peacefully yesterday, surrounded by close family and friends, aged 70,” Mr Heath wrote in a blog online.“Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics. She will be greatly missed.”In a statement, her publisher HarperCollins said: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel.“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.”The British author’s last novel, the conclusion to her trilogy about the tumultuous life of Thomas Cromwell, the scheming chief minister to King Henry VIII, attracted midnight queues outside bookshops.Ms Mantel became the first British writer, and first woman, to win the prestigious Booker Prize twice with the first two novels in the series, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.The third, The Mirror & the Light, was tipped by many critics to make an unprecedented treble but missed out. Mantel took the judges’ snub in good grace.“I think a book is born into a cultural moment and any book is carried on the cultural tide, so we just have to acknowledge that,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2020.The trilogy sold more than five million copies globally and has been translated into 41 languages.Much of her literary oeuvre dwelt on the historical or the supernatural. But Ms Mantel did not shy away from attacking contemporary issues, including the British royalty and former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Boris Johnson.‘We’ve lost a genius’Harry Potter author JK Rowling led the tributes to Dame Hilary, writing: “We’ve lost a genius.”Author and journalist Caitlin Moran tweeted: “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.”Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Such terribly sad news. It is impossible to overstate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind. Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the crowning achievement in an outstanding body of work. Rest in peace.”Fellow Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo tweeted: “So very sorry to hear about Hilary Mantel’s passing. We were so lucky to have such a massive talent in our midst. I met her a few times and she was always so warm, down-to-earth and welcoming.”

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