Well, as we all know by now Hilary Mantel won the 2012 Booker for Bringing up the Bodies, her second novel on the life of Thomas Cromwell, who was Henry VIII’s right-hand man, and the man who enabled him to marry Anne Boleyn. The win was notable for three reasons: Mantel is the first woman to win for a second time; she is the first Briton to win for a second time (Peter Carey and J.M. Coetzee being both male, and Australian/ South African, respectively); and her book is the first sequel ever to win. She previously won with Wolf Hall, the first book in the sequence.
Mantel is a fascinating figure, and I shall have to go back to reading her books. I read and enjoyed Wolf Hall but got cross with some detail which implied Ash Wednesday was at the end of Lent rather than the beginning. I’ve got her original first novel (the one she wrote first though it had to wait 20 years to be published) A Place of Greater Safety, waiting to be read. It’s an 800 page whopper set in the French Revolution. There’s a quite interesting interview with her in the Guardian here, which is particularly good for aspiring novelists.