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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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Royal Shakespeare Company Plan To Bring Hilary Mantels' Historical Novels To The Stage

Hilary Mantel

Writer Hilary Mantel has been enjoying a continued fallout of success after her second novel in a planned trilogy of Tudor books, Bring Up the Bodies, won the Booker Prize - her second, the first being won by the first of the trilogy, Wolf Hall. Since then the BBC have expressed an interest in making a mini-series, and now the Royal Shakespeare Company plan to bring the story to the stage.

The era Mantel's novels are set in is spot on for the RSC who specialise in Shakespeare's plays. Revolving around Oliver Cromwell (Henry VIII's right hand man), during the 16th Century, just before the time of Shakespeare's own life, the RSC couldn't be better suited for Mantel's creations.

Mike Poulton is on board to adapt the book to a play form, a man credited for "The Canterbury Tales" and "Morte d'Arthur,", and Jeremy Herrin in the Swan theatre . With Herrin and Poulton at the wheel, Wolf Hall is bound to be excellent. The next set of queries about the play, besides who'll be adapting and directing it, is who will be starring? According to the Guardian, RSC's artistic director, Gregory Doran, has someone very particular in mind but wont reveal who that person is. Expect to see the adaptations in theatres this coming December. 

Graphic Novel Wins Best Biography Prize At Costa Awards 2012 While Female Authors Dominate

Hilary Mantel

It was a celebration of forward thinking; the kind of thinking that should be widespread, but until recently, was in the minority. The Costa Awards 2012 awarded a graphic novel a top prize, while recognising the talents of female authors in five categories, The Guardian Reports.

Mary Talbot's Dotter of her Father's Eyes was named biography of the year. "It is a good thing for graphic novels as a whole," said Bryan Talbot, father of the winner, illustrator of the book, and the man behind The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and Alice in Sunderland and who has provided strips for Judge Dredd and Batman. "Graphic novels are becoming increasingly accepted as a legitimate art form. We are living in the golden age of graphic novels. There are more and better comics being drawn today than ever in the history of the medium and there's such a range of styles of artwork, of genre and of subject matter." 

While the win didn't come as a surprise on the night, it's only because the Talbot family have known about the win for months. "It has been really hard keeping quiet about it," said Mary. "We were astonished. Just being shortlisted was amazing and hearing we'd won the category was stunning. We're delighted of course, both personally - it's the first story I've had published - but also for the medium, I can't believe a graphic novel has won."

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Two Bookers And A Costa? Could Hilary Mantel Do The Literary Unthinkable?

Hilary Mantel Mark Watson

Hilary Mantel has been shortlisted for best novel in the annual Costa Book Awards, capping an incredible year for the Glossop-born author who released her Booker winning tome Bring Up The Bodies in May. The winner of the Costa Book Awards - which showcases the finest works of the past 12 months - will receive £30,000 in a ceremony on January 29, 2012.

Others to receive nominations for 2012 include James Meek, Stephen May and Joff Winterhart. Though the prize is predominately won by novelists and poets, this year see's the inclusion of graphic artists like Winterhart, whose Days Of the Bagnold Summer is mentioned in the novel category. He and the other nominees will have it all to do to beat Hilary Mantel, the winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize for her tale of the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell. It would be a remarkable feat for Mantel, who also won the Booker in 2009 for Wolf Hall, becoming the first woman to scoop the prestigious literary prize on two separate occasions. Three judges per category are in place to choose the winners of the Costa Award: they include the comedian Mark Watson, writers Wendy Holden and Marcus Sedgwick and broadcaster Janet Ellis. 

Last year's Costa Award was won by Andrew Miller for his fictional story Pure, about an engineer working in a Parisian cemetery in the run-up to the French Revolution. 

Continue reading: Two Bookers And A Costa? Could Hilary Mantel Do The Literary Unthinkable?

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