by Ross Haig
The author Hilary Mantel was £50,000 richer last night after winning this year’s Man Booker Prize at a ceremony in London. Wolf Hall, which details the rise of Henry VIII’s advisor Thomas Cromwell, saw off competition from a number of past winners – including AS Byatt and JM Coetzee – and was described as a piece of “extraordinary story-telling” by the panel of judges.
Chairman James Naughtie was full of praise for the 600-page book. “Hilary Mantel has given us a thoroughly modern novel set in the 16th century. Wolf Hall has a vast narrative sweep that gleams on every page with luminous and mesmerising detail.”
Amid ongoing questions as to the continued relevance of such a literary prize in an age of increased consumer choice and ever-fragmenting reading habits, retailers remain convinced that the Booker Prize is a positive force for fiction. Waterstones Press Officer Jon Howells told Edinburgh Napier News that since the shortlist was announced, the six titles have experienced sales increases of up to 500%.
“Hilary Mantel is a fantastic writer, and winning the prize will not only continue to drive the sales of Wolf Hall, but lead to increased interest in her fascinating back catalogue. It has also been a big draw in terms of e-books, outselling its rivals by 4-1.”
Mantel is currently working on a sequel to the book, though it may be a while before it hits the shelves – Wolf Hall took nearly twenty years to complete.