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Mantel 'delighted' at dame honour

Best-selling author Hilary Mantel, who has been made a dame for services to literature, said she saw the honour as "encouragement for the future".

The writer, whose novels about the life of King Henry VIII's adviser Thomas Cromwell have been critical and commercial hits, already has a CBE.

She said: " I'm delighted to receive this honour. It's given for 'services to literature,' but I see it not so much as a reward for the past, more as encouragement for the future. It means a great deal to have my efforts recognised, especially as I feel I've come to a new phase in my creative life. I hope it will please the many people who have helped, guided and encouraged me over a writing career of some 30 years."

Success has come late to the 61-year-old novelist, but she has more than made up for it by collecting a haul of literary honours including twice winning the Man Booker Prize.

She is working on the final book in her C romwell trilogy and the first two - Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies - are currently on stage in London and being made into a drama by the BBC.

The Derbyshire-born writer studied law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University before becoming a social worker.

She has said her decision to be a writer was inspired by the end of her parents' marriage and personal illness.

In an interview with Mslexia, she said: ''In my 20s I was in constant pain from undiagnosed endometriosis. With no prospect of a cure, I decided I needed a career - writing - that could accommodate being ill.''

So Mantel gave up her job and started writing the book that 15 years later would become her 1992 work, A Place Of Greater Safety.

That book, an epic but readable recreation of the personal and political lives of the leading lights of the French revolution, pointed the way for her later success with Thomas Cromwell.

Mantel lived for almost a decade in Botswana and Saudi Arabia before returning to Britain, and a writer's life, in the 1980s.

Her work steadily increased in popularity and critical acclaim and she was awarded the CBE in 2006.

She now lives in Budleigh Salterton on the Devon coast where she is working on the final part of her trilogy, said to be called The Mirror And The Light.


From Belfast Telegraph