British writer Hilary Mantel, best known for a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, died on Thursday at the age of 70, her publisher said on Friday. The cause of death was not disclosed.
“It is with great sadness that Harper Collins announces that bestselling author Hilary Mantel has passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and close friends, [quinta-feira] 70 years old,” the message reads. “Our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband Gerald.”
The agent who accompanied Mantel throughout her career, Ben Hamilton, said that working with her was a privilege. “Her wisdom, stylistic audacity, creative ambition and her phenomenal understanding of history make her one of the great novelists of our time,” he told The Guardian. “There was always an aura around her of being out of this world, as she saw and felt the things that we mere mortals do not usually see, but when she realized that confrontation was necessary, she fearlessly went to the battle.”
Mantel won the Booker Prize twice, for Wolf Hall, the first book in the Cromwell trilogy, and for the 2012 sequel Bring Out the Bodies. The trilogy’s conclusion, The Mirror and the Light, was published in 2020, also receiving critical acclaim.
Hilary Mantel was born on July 6, 1952 in Glossop, England. She received a law degree from the University of Sheffield and worked as a social worker after graduation. In 1972, she married Gerald McEwen and the two moved to Botswana, where they lived for five years. They then spent four years in Saudi Arabia, before returning to the UK in the 1980s.
She wrote twelve novels and two collections of short stories throughout her career. Her most famous work is the trilogy that tells the story of Cromwell, Henry VII’s minister, in a romanticized way. Wolf Hall was considered by The Guardian the best book of the 21st century, in a list published in 2019.
Critic Christopher Taylor said the book was “lyrically written but at the same time clean and tidy”, “solidly imagined but at the same time with frightening resonances and at times very entertaining”. “It’s not like anything that exists in contemporary British fiction,” he pointed out.