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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

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

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'?

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

Man Booker Prize Judge: It Was Too Close To Call, But Mantel Wrote 'Best Book'


Hilary Mantel

Man Booker Prize judge Amanda Foreman has written an article for The Telegraph, explaining how she and her fellow judges opted for Hilary Mantel as the winner of this year's award for her historical novel 'Bring up the Bodies.'

There has been some consternation that Will Self had not taken the award for his sprawling avant-garde book 'Umbrella,' though Foreman makes it clear that the panel were hired to pick the year's 'best' book, not the most ambitious. The bookies just favoured journalist-turned-novelist Self to take the award, though Mantel was always going to be a worthy winner. Foreman writes "On the eve of our final deliberations, the bookmakers announced the prize was too close to call. They were right: the collegiate nature of our panel, its method of collective process and adherence to dialogue rather than advocacy, ensured that we began yesterday's meeting with the same open approach as usual." The Evening Standard has since revealed that "at least" two of the five judges were in favour of 'Umbrella' to win the prestigious prize, with another only just swaying towards Mantel. Foreman recalls, "Three hours into the meeting we paused to have the rules read out again to us. By this time we were so focused on the novels themselves, we needed to have that reminder of our ultimate purpose. Were we choosing the most ambitious novel of the year, the most original, the most accomplished, or simply the best? The wording of the Man Booker is unequivocal in that regard: it is the best." Foreman revealed how chair Sir Peter Stothard held up his hand at 3pm and declared "it was apparent that Hilary Mantel was the winner." She became the first Briton and first woman to win the Man Booker twice.

Unsurprisingly, both of Mantel's Booker winning novels - Bring up the Bodies and Wolf Hall - have rocketed to the top of Amazon's best sellers chart.


So, What's Next For Twice Man Booker Prize Winner Hilary Mantel?


Hilary Mantel

Yesterday, Hilary Mantel made history two-fold: she became the first woman ever since its original conception, and first Brit ever, to win the Man Booker prize twice with her book 'Bring Up the Bodies', beating Will Self to the coveted prize. Her novel is the second in an as-yet-unfinished trilogy about Oliver Cromwell and the Tudors in the 17h century. But with such incredible accolades under her belt, what's next for the history writer, that is forging her own space in literature?

First and foremost, she should probably finish that trilogy. Speaking to the Telegraph, she described the prospect of writing the third book as “going into the hardest thing [she] will ever have to do” and admitting that she feels somewhat indebt to her readers, because firstly they have such “high expectations” and secondly “a lot of people are emotionally involved, they're caught up in this saga”. Judging by the success of the first two novels, the third is unlikely to disappoint!

The BBC have also announced that they will be adapting the first two books 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies' into a six part mini-series, and is currently the project of Peter Straughan, who is responsible for the 2011 film 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' another book adaptation, reports the Wall Street Journal. It will be broadcast next year. Plus, the RSC are considering an adaptation of the existing books for the stage.

Continue reading: So, What's Next For Twice Man Booker Prize Winner Hilary Mantel?

Man Booker Prize: At Least Two Judges 'Strongly Backed' Will Self For The Win


Hilary Mantel

In the end, it was Hilary Mantel who made literary history on Tuesday evening (October 16, 2012), becoming the first ever British writer to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize twice. She won for her historical novel 'Bring Up The Bodies' - the sequel to her Booker-winning 'Wolf Hall - though not everyone welcomed the result.

Canongate's Jamie Byng was incensed by the result, calling it "one of the most anti-climatic nights of my life," adding, "To give the award to Hilary Mantel, wonderful novelist though she is, is an odd way to celebrate British fiction when she has won it before." It has since been revealed by the Evening Standard that two of the five judges were strongly backing Will Self's avant-garde novel Umbrella to win the prize, with a third opting for Mantel's book "by a hair's breadth," during the meeting that lasted two hours and sixteen minutes. It's not clear who was in favour of Self's book, though judge Dan Stevens - the star of Downton Abbey - gave little away afterwards, saying, "I get much more nervous about the judging meetings than going on stage. I feel at home on stage but don't necessarily feel quite as at home in a room with brilliant critically minded judges."

Food critic and broadcaster Giles Coren - who attended the event at London's Guildhall - had previously claimed he wanted bet £1,000 on Will Self to win the prize. After last night's result, he jokingly tweeted, "The first time an author has won the Booker Prize twice for the same novel."


Man Booker Prize 2012: Historic Win For Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies


Booker Prize Hilary Mantel

Last night, Hilary Mantel made history when she became the first woman and also the first living British author to win the Man Booker Prize twice, BBC News reports. Not only that, but Mantel’s novel Bring Up The Bodies is also the first direct sequel to win for the second time.

Mantel was made a CBE in 2006, though she was then only just starting to break into the public realm. In 2009, Hilary Mantel won the prize for Wolf Hall, which chronicled Thomas Cromwell’s rise from being a blacksmith’s son, to having a prime position in Henry VIII’s court. Bring Up The Bodies is a continuation of Cromwell’s story, which will be completed in the final instalment of the Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror and the Light. The series is currently being adapted for a six part series for BBC Two, which is expected to be broadcast late next year.

Though her success hardly comes as a surprise, many had Will Self pegged as last night’s champion, for his novel Umbrella. The 2012 Man Booker Prize was one for the record books though, as Mantel walked away with the prize and with the knowledge that she has made literary history on three scores. Speaking about last night’s triumph, Hilary Mantel described the win as “an act of faith and a vote of confidence” by the judging panel and joked “You wait 20 years for a Booker Prize and two come along at once."


Hilary Mantel Wins Booker Prize With 'Bring Up The Bodies'


Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel has won the Booker 2012 with Bring Up The Bodies after weeks of fraught speculation and a neck and neck competition towards the prize between her and Will Self. Mantel instantly becomes a double-record breaker: she is the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize and she is also the only Brit to win it twice.

"Well I don't know: you wait 20 years for a Booker prize and two come along at once!" said Mantel on receiving her award.

She won her first Booker Prize in 2009 with 'Wolf Hall' the predecessor to 'Bring Up the Bodies', both of which are a part of a prospective trilogy about Oliver Cromwell. In winning she's proved herself wrong, having been quoted by the Star, saying that although she considered it unlikely, but that “it would not be human to not want to win.” Before the Prize was awarded, judge chairman Peter Stothard discussed choosing the shortlist: “We read and we reread. It was the power and depth of prose that settled most of the judges' debates and we found the six books most likely to last and to repay future rereading. These are very different books but they all show a huge and visible confidence in the novel's place in the renewing of our words and our ideas.”

Continue reading: Hilary Mantel Wins Booker Prize With 'Bring Up The Bodies'

Hilary Mantel Vs. Will Self: The Man Booker Battle


Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel and Will Self are head to head in the Man Booker Prize with their novels 'Bring Up The Bodies' and 'Umberella', respectively. With odds now stacked very heavily in Mantel's favour, at 1/50, it's clear who the bookies think are going to win. However, it has also been dubbed by William Hill (bookmakers) as what will be 'the closest finish ever'.

Mantel has won the Booker Prize before with the first in her Cromwell Trilogy, Wolf Hall. Will Self has never won the Booker Prize, although he has been shortlisted an impressive three times for the 'Bad Sex in Fiction Award'. According to Amazon Mantel's sales are also way above Self's, as she takes 36% of sales for the award nominees, whereas Alison Moore's 'The Lighthouse' is taking 20% and Self's is only taking 8%! However, Self's work spans far further than Mantel's, he has columns and contributes regularly to a variety of publications including The Times, The New York Times, The Observer and The London Review of Books, which all make him very qualified for the award.

With greater sales, and a Booker Prize already behind her it seems inevitable for Mantel to storm to victory. But, like all judges, there is always the temptation to surprise and delight and until the winner is officially announced. The prize not only brings a huge amount of prestige, but sales revenues go through the roof, and last time Mantel won her book sold over 500,000 extra copies. Plus, if Mantel wins, it will make her the first woman and the first Brit to ever win the award twice.

Continue reading: Hilary Mantel Vs. Will Self: The Man Booker Battle

Giles Coren Bets £1000 On Will Self To Win The Booker Prize?


Hilary Mantel

Journalist and television presenter Giles Coren is adamant that Will Self's avant-garde novel Umbrella will win the prestigious Booker Prize at tonight's ceremony in London. Though the prize is assumed to be a two-horse race, between Self and Hilary Mantel, the bookmakers appear to have no idea who will be crowned the victor.

Bet365.com, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes have Self as the favourite at 6/4, though William Hill are still offering 2/1 on the writer, favouring Mantel to take the prize for 'Bring Up The Bodies.' Should the 60-year-old author win the £50,000 prize London's Guildhall tonight, she would become the first woman and first British writer to win the Booker twice. Coren, who has correctly predicted the winner of the literary prize on the last two occasions (including when Harold Jacobson won at long odds last year) says it will almost certainly be Will Self's night. In fact, he's so confident that he's looking to have a bet himself, asking Twitter followers on Monday, "I want to put a grand on Will Self to win the Booker but can't find better than 2-1, which isn't really worth it. Anyone want to give me 3?" Later on his Tumblr page, Coren cemented his predictions, saying, "Giles Coren would like to inform you that the 2012 prize will be won by Will Self for Umbrella. Giles says he will be at the awards dinner tomorrow night in his "crusty old black tie" to tweet "I told you so" around 8pm. Any mea culpa is probably optional."

So there you go literary fans. Will Self will win tonight's Booker Prize. Based on Coren's previous form, it's certainly worth a tenner, no?


Man Booker Prize: Hilary Mantel Expected To Make History, Not Just Write About It


Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is battling Will Self as well as four other lesser known writers Jeet Thayil, Alison Moore, Twan Eng and Deborah Levy for the Man Booker Prize, but has this week become the bookies' favourite to win the esteemed literary award.

The Tudors and the entire era surrounding the family have forever been an interest of the British, and even more so over the past fifteen years. In part this is due to their scandalous behaviour but also, largely due to their decisions changing the course of England forever. Henry VIII's 6 wives has always been the crux of primary school history education, but it was also this illustrious leader who rejected the catholic church and founded the Church of England, which has become, over the centuries, one of the biggest and most influential institutions in the country. Plus, his daughter, Elizabeth became a legendary Queen, whose life his been made into two films of great popularity and critical acclaim since 1998.

Thus, Mantel's trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, who rose to power during the life of Henry VIII was bound to be a success. Nevertheless, it is her eloquence, research dedication and ability to bring this history back to a very realistic life which has forged her a permanent place among literary heavy weights, and put her in the position to break records. If she wins this year's Man Booker Prize she will be the first woman ever to win it twice (she won in 2009 for the first in the trilogy Wolf Hall) as well as being the first ever Brit to win it twice. Bring Up the Bodies is up for the award this year and is the second book in her series.

Continue reading: Man Booker Prize: Hilary Mantel Expected To Make History, Not Just Write About It

Hilary Mantel Primed For Man Booker Prize?


Hilary Mantel

As talk of the possible Man Booker prize-winner steps up, and possible suitors pass the lips of literature fans, Hilary Mantel is being mooted as a favourite to become not only the first woman to win it twice, but also the first Brit.

Mantel grabbed the prize back in 2009 with Wolf Hall; her acclaimed 650-page historical novel surrounding Thomas Cromwell's rise to power. And she’s in contention again this year for the sequel. She’s already looking for forward to the completion of the trilogy, though: "If I get the third book right then in a sense my whole life will have come right," she told Reuters in June. "But if I don't, then I am going to see it as a failure. In my mind it is all one long project." The Mirror and the Light won’t hit shelves until 2015. Will Self is also strongly favoured to win; his atypical literary styling in Umbrella has been described as “both moving and draining" by Peter Stothard, chair of the Man Booker judging panel and editor of the Times Literary Supplement. "There has been discussion, I know, about the pros and cons of Mantel advancing so far in the prize again so soon," he said. "The judges noted Mantel's even greater mastery of method now."

The prize will be handed out at a swanky dinner in London on Tuesday, 16th October.


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