Photo ©Hilary Mantel

University celebrates Hilary Mantel

One of the country’s most distinguished living novelists, University of Exeter honorary graduate Hilary Mantel, will read from her latest novel Bring Up the Bodies, sequel to her Man Booker prizewinning Wolf Hall, at a special event hosted by the University of Exeter on 11 October.

The event takes place in the Alumni Auditorium, part of the new Forum at the Streatham Campus.

Wolf Hall is a study of Thomas Cromwell, the man who engineered the dissolution of the monasteries to the execution of Anne Boleyn. It won not only the Man Booker 2010 but also the inaugural Walter Scott Prize and the US National Book Critics Circle Award. Testimony to Mantel’s gifts as a great storyteller, Wolf Hall is also the biggest-selling Booker prize winner to date.

The second volume of her Cromwell trilogy, Bring Up the Bodies, is receiving similar acclaim, having just been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2012. Both novels are to be adapted into a BBC series and there is a proposed theatre adaptation of the two books.

Hilary Mantel’s reading at the University will be followed by a discussion of her work with University of Exeter English Professor Helen Taylor. They will explore the reasons why the author has chosen to focus her current trilogy on the figure of Thomas Cromwell and what the historical, cultural and literary challenges have been.

Professor Taylor said:“Hilary Mantel is finally receiving the international acclaim she has long deserved, and the University is delighted to celebrate her writing at this special event in the new Forum Auditorium. As part of the discussion I will be asking if she plans more literary exploration of the Tudor period, or whether she’ll return to more contemporary subjects.”

She added: “Mantel’s literary output is the most brilliantly original and varied of any contemporary writer. In 2011, Hilary Mantel became an Honorary Graduate of the University of Exeter and we in the College of Humanities are delighted to appoint her as Honorary Visiting Professor.”

A Celebration of Hilary Mantel starts at 6.30pm and is followed by refreshments. Entry will be by advance tickets only, £5.00 (£2.50 for students), and can be purchased from the Northcott Theatre box office, by telephone 01392 493493 or online.

The event at the University of Exeter is being held in the new Alumni Auditorium which is in the Forum. Copies of Bring Up the Bodies will be on sale at the event and Blackwell’s bookshop will also have available Mantel’s backlist of literature. Hilary Mantel will be available for book signing for a limited period after the reading.

Date: 10 October 2012