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.