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Picture - Dame Hilary Mantel - Opening... New York City New York United States, Thursday 9th April 2015

Dame Hilary Mantel - Opening day for Wolf Hall Part 1 and 2 at the Winter Garden Theatre - Arrivals. at Winter Garden Theatre, - New York City, New York, United States - Thursday 9th April 2015

Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel, Mike Poulton and Jeremy Herrin

BBC Adaption Of 'Wolf Hall': What We Know So Far


Damian Lewis Claire Foy Hilary Mantel

It may be nearly two years since BBC Two first announced that it would be adapting Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize historical novel Wolf Hall, but details about the series are only just beginning to emerge. The series was announced in August 2012 and at the time director Peter Kosminsky, who was chosen to bring the book to life, said, “It is an intensely political piece. It is about the politics of despotism, and how you function around an absolute ruler…When I saw Peter Straughan’s script, only a first draft, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was the best draft I had ever seen.”

Damian Lewis Wolf Hall Damian Lewis, best known for his work on Homeland, has been cast as King Henry VIII

Wolf Hall, which charts the rise in power of English statesman Thomas Cromwell under the rule of Henry VIII, has been hailed by The Observer as one of the '10 best historical novels.' Casting news has begun to trickle through, with Homeland’s Damian Lewis pegged to star as Henry and The Woman in Black’s Jessica Raine as the manipulative Jane Rochford. Rochford was marred to Anne Boleyn’s brother, George, and played a role in the downfall of Henry’s second wife.

Continue reading: BBC Adaption Of 'Wolf Hall': What We Know So Far

Decision To Include US Books In Man Booker Prize Splits Critics


Hilary Mantel Melvyn Bragg

It has been announced that from next year the Man Booker Prize will be open to all authors across the English-speaking world, including America. Previously, the prestigious literary award only considered those within the British, Irish or Commonwealth nations, which excluded the USA.

Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel Won The Man Booker Prize Last Year.

The Man Booker Prize have announced that all English-speaking authors will now be eligible, "from Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai" to "recognise, celebrate and embrace" writers from across the globe. Furthermore, the novel submissions rules will change, meaning publishing houses who have previously had books featured on longlists will be allowed more entries.

Continue reading: Decision To Include US Books In Man Booker Prize Splits Critics

Man Booker Prize To Include American Authors, But Will It Lose Its Identity?


Hilary Mantel

In a move that could potentially see American literary heavyweights including Jonathan Franzen, Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo being honoured for their work in the UK, organizers of the Man Booker Prize - Britain's most prestigious literary award - have announced plans to expand the contest to writers outside of Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth.

Currently, the Man Booker Prize is open to any full-length novel written by authors inside those boundaries, though a change is tact is has been designed to raise the award's profile internationally. According to the Telegraph, organisers have become increasingly concerned that excluding writers in the US in anachronistic, though opening to the entry to the States now makes hundreds more books eligible each year - something former recipient Howard Jacobson called "the wrong decision."

The broadcaster and writer Melvyn Bragg said he was "disappointed though not that surprised" by the decision, telling the Sunday Times, "The Booker will now lose its distinctiveness.It's rather like a British company being taken over by some worldwide conglomerate."

Continue reading: Man Booker Prize To Include American Authors, But Will It Lose Its Identity?

The Man Booker Prize Will Allow American Authors To Enter For The First Time In 2014


Hilary Mantel Melvyn Bragg Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize has served as the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Commonwealth's most prestigious award for books and authors since it's inception in 1969. On Sunday, 15 September, The Sunday Times reported that a change was heading it's way, as authors from the other side of the pond will be able to submit entries to the award for the first time ever starting in 2014.

Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel won the award last year

The report from the Times revealed plans from the heads of the award to open the prize up to a wider pool of talent, and in doing so open it up to a wider audience. In a bid further cement the reputation of the Man Booker Prize as the one of world's leading awards for writers, the organisers have deemed the American market as a keen demographic to infiltrate and ensure that interest is maintained and entries are still regularly submitted. According to the Times, "the organisers increasingly believe that excluding writers from America is anachronistic. The Booker committee believes US writers must be allowed to compete to ensure the award's global reputation."

Continue reading: The Man Booker Prize Will Allow American Authors To Enter For The First Time In 2014

Will It Be Third Time Lucky for Colm Tóibín and the Man Booker Prize?


Hilary Mantel Alison MacLeod

Colm Tóibín has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize for the third time, for his 2012 novel The Testament of Mary. The Irish writer was one of twelve authors on the long-list, which the judges say is "surely the most diverse" in the prize's history.

Despite Tóibín's entry, ten of the twelve entries are first time nominees, with Jim Crace the other writer to have gotten close to Booker success before.

Robert Macfarlane, this year's chair of judges, said: "This is surely the most diverse longlist in Man Booker history: wonderfully various in terms of geography, form, length and subject. These 13 outstanding novels range from the traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1,000, and from Shanghai to Hendon," according to the Guardian.

Continue reading: Will It Be Third Time Lucky for Colm Tóibín and the Man Booker Prize?

Maggie Gyllenhaal To Star In "Scintillating" BBC Spy Thriller


Maggie Gyllenhaal Hilary Mantel

After starring in the recent political thriller White House Down, Maggie Gyllenhaal will appear in the lead role in The Honorable Woman:a new BBC2 thriller that deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 35 year-old Gyllenhaal, who is married to fellow actor Peter Saarsgard, is best known for her roles in films such as Donnie Darko, Secretary, and The Dark Knight, as well as her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 2009's Crazy Heart.

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal Takes Lead Role In BBC2's The Honourable Woman.

The Honourable Woman, created by The Shadow Line's Hugo Blick, will follow Gyllenhaal who plays Nessa Stein: the daughter of a Zionist arms procurer who is recognised for her peace promotion between Israel and Palestine by being made a life peer by the UK government. Sarah Barnett, the president of Sundance Channel demonstrated the growing excitement for the new TV series: "The Honourable Woman is scintillating drama: it is both a tightly plotted international political thriller and a superbly wrought character piece about hope, compromise, guilt and families." 

Continue reading: Maggie Gyllenhaal To Star In "Scintillating" BBC Spy Thriller

Canadian Sheila Heti Up For Prestigious Women in Fiction Prize


Hilary Mantel

One of the new names on the list of nominees for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize) is Canadian author Sheila Heti.

Heti is up for the prestigious award with her novel How Should a Person Be?, published in 2012, and is longlisted alongside 19 other contenders for the prize. Some of the favorites this year include Brits Zadie Smith with her novel NW and Hilary Mantel with Bring Up The Bodies. Canadian-born Heti certainly faces some tough competition for the $30 000 prize.

According to Miranda Richardson, chair of the 5-member judging panel, the task of selecting the candidates for the prestigious award was not an easy one. "The list we have ended up with is, we believe, truly representative of that diversity of style, content and provenance, and contains those works which genuinely inspired the most excitement and passion amongst the judges," Richardson commented for CBS news. Richardson is joined on this year’s panel by broadcaster Razia Iqbal, author and journalist Rachel Johnson, author JoJo Moyes and activist Natasha Walter.

Continue reading: Canadian Sheila Heti Up For Prestigious Women in Fiction Prize

Why Has Kate Middleton Not Responded to Hilary Mantel 'Attack'?


Kate Middleton Hilary Mantel

Kate Middleton has not responded to the comments that Hilary Mantel made about her in a lecture, but the rest of the world has. Why has she remained silent? 

Many have expressed their opinions regarding Hilary Mantel's comments about Kate Middleton during a lecture she gave last month, in which she described the Duchess as 'plastic' and 'machine made". Avid royalists defended Middleton to the hilt, David Cameron even said his bit. Many others who view Kate as a woman, not just a member of the royal family, defended Mantel, arguing that her words were an attack on the press rather than the woman herself. The one opinion we all want to hear though, is Kate's, and she has remained completely silent on the matter.

Her muteness, like Mantel's verbosity, can be construed in two ways. Firstly, her apparent refusal to comment could affirm Mantel's apparent judgements. Machines are still and silent until their owners allow them to move and make sound. On the other hand, however, Kate could of course be employing those distinctly human traits, historically considered to be endowed to us by God, of choice and free will. 

Continue reading: Why Has Kate Middleton Not Responded to Hilary Mantel 'Attack'?

A Week In News: Fans Mourn Mindy McCready, Fergie Pregnant, Britney Has A New Man


Mindy McCready Fergie Josh Duhamel Britney Spears Beyonce Knowles Alec Baldwin Justin Bieber Hilary Mantel Kate Middleton Mario Lopez Sir Paul McCartney

Mindy McCready

Ten Thousand Angels: This week, we reported on the tragic news regarding country singer , who passed away at the age of just 39. Mindy will be remembered for her debut album - which was certified twice Platinum by the RIAA - as well as 1997's If I Don't Stay The Night and 1990's I'm Not So Tough.

Her Lovely Baby Bump: Great news for Black Eyed Peas fans this week, after singer Fergie announced she is pregnant with her and Josh Duhamel's first child! Fergie announced the news on Twitter, tweeting, "Josh & Me & BABY makes three! #mylovelybabybump."

Continue reading: A Week In News: Fans Mourn Mindy McCready, Fergie Pregnant, Britney Has A New Man

Wolf Hall Sales Sky-Rocket For Hilary Mantel After Kate Middleton "Plastic Smile" Comments


Hilary Mantel Kate Middleton

When the double Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel delivered her hour-long essay on the way in which royal women are viewed, she most probably was not expecting the media furore that she sparked. Her comments about Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, ignited a wave of fury and even prompted condemnation from the Prime Minister David Cameron, as she described Kate as having “no personality of her own” and being “entirely defined by what she wore,” The Telegraph reports.

It’s unclear whether or not David Cameron had been a party to the entire lecture before dismissing Mantel’s observations as “completely misguided and completely wrong” but Mantel can at least enjoy one positive outcome that the furore has had. Sales of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (the first of her trilogy of books about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII) reportedly doubled in the last 24 hours, since news of her comments broke. The book has risen from 15th to 7th in Amazon’s book charts and the sequel, Bring Up The Bodies has seen a rise of 69 per cent.

Hilary Mantel compared Kate Middleton to other female royals, including Princess Diana and described her as having a “perfect plastic smile.” In defence of Mantel’s essay, Professor Mary Beard urged people not to take the comments out of context and insisted that the negative reaction to Mantel’s lecture was “completely misguided and completely wrong.” 

Continue reading: Wolf Hall Sales Sky-Rocket For Hilary Mantel After Kate Middleton "Plastic Smile" Comments

Did Kate Middleton Need David Cameron To Defend Her Against Hilary Mantel's Remarks?


Kate Middleton David Cameron Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel swiftly became the darling of the literary world late last year as she won her second Booker Prize with Bring Up the Bodies, the second in a historical trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and the Tudor family, But her popularity on a broad scale has been knocked today as the comments she made about Kate Middleton being 'plastic and 'machine made' for breeding came to light, the BBC reports.  

Mantel's speech, at a lecture last month, was if nothing else, delightfully eloquent. Perhaps her greatest downfall was to compare her in so biased a manner to Prince William's mother, Princess Diana. "[Kate] appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture," the author said. 

Jumping to Kate's defence, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke on the matter: "What I've seen of Princess Kate at public events, at the Olympics and elsewhere is this is someone who's bright, who's engaging, who's a fantastic ambassador for Britain. We should be proud of that, rather than make these rather misguided remarks."

Continue reading: Did Kate Middleton Need David Cameron To Defend Her Against Hilary Mantel's Remarks?

Kate Middleton Attacked, But Is She Really A 'Plastic Princess'?


Kate Middleton Hilary Mantel Prince William

Kate Middleton has been verbally attack by the Booker Prize winning novelist Hilary Mantel, who described the Duchess of Cambridge as a "shop-window mannequin" with absolutely no personality, whose only purpose in life is to breed. Wowzers, pretty heavy going stuff huh? During a lecture at the British Museum, Mantel - author of the classic novel Wolf Hall - said Kate appeared "gloss-varnished," with a perfect plastic smile.

Kate Middleton, Hope House, LondonHilary Mantel, Costa Book Awards

Kate Middleton [L] Has Come Under Fire From Award Winning Novelist Hilary Mantel [R]

Continue reading: Kate Middleton Attacked, But Is She Really A 'Plastic Princess'?

Kate Middleton A Victim Of Mantel Abuse! Called A "Mannequin" By Booker Prize-Winning Writer


Kate Middleton Hilary Mantel

Kate Middleton has come in for the leatheriest of shoe pie servings from double Booker Prize-winning writer Hilary Mantel, who claimed that the Duchess of Cambridge and current cultivator of the next royal baby was a “shop window mannequin”. Harsh words.

Mantel was delivering a London Review of Books lecture on Royal Bodies at the British Museum, according to The Independent. She said that on first impressions , Middleton was “a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung. In those days she was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore.” Carrying on her remorseless verbal assault, Mantel commented “She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture.” We presume that at this point, a (definitely not) watching-on Morrissey stood to his feet and started whooping and hollering in agreement before sauntering out the room with a bunch of daffodils in his hand.

Mantel wasn’t done there though: “Presumably Kate was designed to breed in some manners. She looks like a nicely brought up young lady, with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ part of her vocabulary” she said, before turning her ire on Kate’s first official royal portrait and commenting of the Paul Emsley-painted creation “her eyes are dead.” Middleton basically was a poor third place to Anne Boleyn and Princess Diana, judging by the rest of the speech, which was about as withering as they come.

Continue reading: Kate Middleton A Victim Of Mantel Abuse! Called A "Mannequin" By Booker Prize-Winning Writer

Hilary Mantel's Reign Continues, 'Bring Up The Bodies' Wins the Costa Book Award


Hilary Mantel

Having won her second Booker Prize in autumn last year, and followed with the news last week that the RSC would be turning both 'Bring Up the Bodies' and 'Wolf Hall' into plays, Mantel is on a winning streak, which has just been continued by her winning the Costa Book Award - to a unanimous vote, reports the Guardian.

While some have criticised the decision, wanting the panel to have chosen a book which may have needed a helping hand in a way that the 240,000 hardback copies already sold by Mantel certainly didn't, Dame Jenni Murray, the chair of judges for the Costa Book Award panel, was very clear about Mantel's book: it won because it was the best. 

"These prizes are about 'What is the best book, what is the most enjoyable book? If I were to go away from here tonight and choose a book I wanted to read again, what would it be?'" She said, "We had a really good discussion, like being at a high powered book club and I said, 'OK, let's have a vote on Bring up the Bodies' and every hand went up."

Continue reading: Hilary Mantel's Reign Continues, 'Bring Up The Bodies' Wins the Costa Book Award