Hilary Mantel Books

Hilary Mantel is a well-established writer who has penned books that address a number of topics on different subjects. Mantel’s books range from short stories anthologies to essays, personal memoir to historical fiction. Hilary Mary Dame Mantel was born on July 6, 1952, in the town of Glossop. Glossop is an exceedingly small town that is located in Derbyshire, England. As one of the most decorated writers, Hilary Mantel is the recipient of two Booker Prizes; a literary award that is awarded yearly to some of the best original novels that have been written in English and also published in the UK. Mantel’s first Booker prize came when she published her very first novel, titled Wolf Wall in the year 2009.

Order of Thomas Cromwell Series

# Read Title Published
1 Wolf Hall 2009
2 Bring Up the Bodies 2012

Order of Axon Family Series

# Read Title Published
1 Every Day Is Mother's Day 1985
2 Vacant Possession 1986

Order of Hilary Mantel Standalone Novels

Order of Hilary Mantel Short Story Collections

# Read Title Published
1 Learning to Talk 2003
2 The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher 2014

Order of Hilary Mantel Non-Fiction Books

# Read Title Published
1 Giving Up the Ghost 2003
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Born Hilary Thompson in Glossop, Derbyshire in 1952, the author we now know as Hilary Mantel was raised by her parents, Margaret and Henry in the village of Hadfield. At the age of 11, Hilary’s parents separated, and eventually, Jack Mantel became her de facto stepfather, whom she took her name from. Although raised as a Roman Catholic, Mantel lost her faith in her adolescence. In her late teens, Mantel began her studies in law at the London School of Economics, before transferring to the University of Sheffield, from where she graduated in 1973.

While at university, she married Gerald McEwen, in 1972. She also worked in a geriatric hospital, and used this partly for the basis of her debut novel, Every Day Is Mother’s Day, which was published in 1985 and is a black comedy dealing with social care and the stigma surrounding it. The story from Every Day Is Mother’s Day is continued in Hilary Mantel’s second novel, Vacant Possession, which was published in 1986, while she was living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her husband.

Hilary Mantel returned to England, where she picked up the job as film critic for The Spectator, a British magazine in 1987, and continued in that role for 4 years. During that time, her third novel was published, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, which drew upon her time in Jeddah. Eight Months on Ghazzah Street explores the conflicting cultures going on on a daily basis for the citizens of Saudi Arabia.

In 1989, Mantel published her fourth novel, Fludd, which also won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, which was awarded for the best regional novel of that year by the Royal Society of Literature. Fludd is set in a fictional village in the north of England, and centres on the Roman Catholic Church and a convent in the village when a stranger shows up in the village and starts to make big changes to the people in the village of Fetherhoughton in 1956.

Mantel then went on to win the Sunday Express Book of the Year award for her novel A Place of Greater Safety, which was published in 1992. It is a book that Mantel had started almost 20 years prior, and is her first real sprawling epic that fans of her work have come to know her for in her Thomas Cromwell series. It is a historically-accurate novel which charts the lives of Danton, Robespierre and Camille Desmoulins, three French revolutionaries who met their death during the Reign of Terror.

She would continue to garner critical and commercial success for her stand-alone novels, but it wasn’t until the publication of Wolf Hall, the first part of Mantel’s series about Thomas Cromwell, the minister of Henry VIII, that she achieved her crowning success, winning the Man Booker Prize for the first time. Wolf Hall was followed up in 2012 by its sequel, Bringing Up the Bodies in 2012, which Mantel again won the Man Booker Prize, as well as the Costa Book of the Year. The third book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy will be called The Mirror and the Light and will wrap up the epic story.

Wolf Wall is a fictitious biography that documents Thomas Cromwell rapid ascension to power in the year 1500s, in Henry VIII’s reign. Thomas was an extraordinarily powerful minister who served King Henry VIII. After publishing the novel Bringing Up the Bodies, Hillary Mantel won the second Booker prize. This was the second book in the Thomas Cromwell’s trilogy that talked about the Cromwell’s rise and fall. Born and raised in Glossop, Mantel is the first of three children. Her father was known as Henry Thomas, while her mother was known as Margaret Foster. Mantel’s parents were of Irish descent, and they all resided in England. After some time, Hillary Mantel’s parents began having marital problems, which eventually led to their separation. Mantel never saw her father, until her 11th birthday. Jack Mantel who was born in the year 1932 married Hilary mother, thus becoming Hilary Mantel’s step-father. Margaret adopted the name Mantel so did Hillary.

Their family later on relocated to Cheshire County, a county that is located in England’s North West region. Hilary began attending the local Harrytown Convent. However, in the year 1970, Hilary was admitted to the London School of Economics, where she began studying Law. Mantel eventually transferred to the University of Sheffield, which is a research University that is located in the city of Sheffield. In the year 1973, Hillary Mantel graduated with a degree in Jurisprudence, theory, and study of the law. After completing her University education, Hillary Mantel was employed in a geriatric hospital where she worked in the Social Works Department. Later on, Hillary Mantel transferred to one of the leading departmental stores, where she served as the sales assistant. While working at the departmental stores, Hilary Mantel began working on her first novel, that laid emphasis on the French Revolution.

It did not take long before the novel was accepted for publication. In 1977, Mantel relocated to Botswana together with her husband. Mantel and her husband stayed in Botswana for more than five years before they relocated to Jeddah, for four years. Mantel’s stay in the region of Saudi Arabia, gave her the inspiration for her personal memoir, titled Someone to Disturb. Someone to Disturb was published in LRB (London Review of Books).

Hillary Mantel Awards

Hilary Mantel is the recipient of two literary awards; a Booker Prize and a National Book Critics Circle.

Hilary Mantel Books into Movies

The Wolf Hall Book series has been adapted into a television mini-series. Some of the most noticeable actors in the Wolf Hall television series include Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, and Mark Rylance.

Best Hilary Mantel Books

Wolf Hall: This book introduces the readers to Thomas Cromwell, the chief minister who spearheaded the break with Rome and also the dissolution of numerous monasteries. In his lifetime, Thomas Cromwell was widely hated, and now he turns into an unexpected fictional hero. In Wolf Hall, the author Hillary Mantel successfully depicts the backstairs maneuvers and the beefy pen-pusher as not only an exceedingly appealing and enlightened characters of the time. By using the scant evidence about his childhood, Hilary Mantel imagines an exceedingly miserable childhood for Thomas Cromwell as the child of an exceedingly aggressive and drunken blacksmith. Already displaying intelligence, a gift of languages and toughness, Cromwell manages to escape at only 15 years.

Later on, Cromwell eventually returns to England. At this point, Cromwell is more than forty years old and also happens to be a trusted agent to one, Cardinal Wolsey. The use of flashbacks highlights Cromwell’s life-shaping experience in Italy, France as well as the Netherlands. Cromwell has served as a soldier, accountant, and trader as well. He has not only attained an acquired taste for Italian paintings, but he has also killed a man with his bare hands.

Hilary Mantel FAQs

Q: What nationality is Hilary Mantel?

A: Hilary Mantel is English, and was born in Glossop, Derbyshire.

Q: What is the name of Hilary Mantel’s first novel?

A: The first novel Hilary Mantel had published was called Every Day is Mother’s Day, which was published in 1985.

Q: What is the order of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy?

A: The first book in the Thomas Cromwell series is Wolf Hall, followed by Bringing up the Bodies, and finally The Mirror and the Light.