Hilary Mantel was born in 1952 in Glossop, England. She studied law in London and lived with her husband, a geologist, for several years in Botswana and Saudi Arabia. Previously a social worker, she worked as a film critic for the magazine »The Spectator« after her return to Great Britain until 1991.
In 1985 she made her debut with »Every Day is Mother’s Day«, a novel about a mother and her mentally disabled pregnant daughter, which is a satirical take on the life of the English middle class in the 1970s. Several novels followed, some of which already reveal Mantel’s fondness for historical material. Thus »A Place of Greater Safety« (1992) follows the paths of Georges Danton, Maximilien Robespierre, and Camille Desmoulins through the turmoil of the French Revolution. In her memoir »Giving Up the Ghost« (2003), on the other hand, Mantel tells with great candidness about her own life, from growing up in simple circumstances to the effects of her endometriosis, which she had long been unaware of and was wrongly treated for. Hilary Mantel became internationally known with the first two parts of her Tudor trilogy about the rise of Thomas Cromwell at the court of Henry VIII. Both »Wolf Hall« (2009) and »Bring Up the Bodies« (2012) were awarded the Man Booker Prize, became worldwide bestsellers, and were adapted for theatre and television. In 2020, the third part of the trilogy was published. »The Mirror and the Light«, which begins with Cromwell’s entry into the circle of power, describes his career as the closest advisor to the King of England and ends with his execution. Hilary Mantel »tells these 500-year-old events in a breathtakingly fast-paced contemporary tone, richly interspersed with dashing, quick-witted and often very funny dialogue, which conveys upon the reader a sense of being directly involved in the story,« acclaimed the literary critic Sigrid Löffler in an article for Deutschlandfunk Kultur. »As readers, we are on the road with Cromwell in the riotous, violent, dangerous, incredibly sensual, and colorful world of the English Renaissance.«
In 2013, Hilary Mantel received the David Cohen Prize for her life’s work. In 2014, the Queen elevated her to the rank of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She is an honorary doctor of several universities, including Cambridge and Oxford. Mantel died on September 22, 2022, in Exeter, Great Britain.