Mantel's history novel picks up another major award

Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:07pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - British novelist Hilary Mantel added to her groaning trophy cabinet on Tuesday, picking up the Costa Book Award 2012 for "Bring Up the Bodies," her historical novel about the life and court of Henry VIII and his chief minister Thomas Cromwell.

The acclaimed bestseller has already won the Man Booker prize for fiction, making Mantel the first Briton and first woman to win that coveted award twice.

The 60-year-old also won the Booker Prize in 2009 for "Wolf Hall," the first installment in what will be a trilogy.

Broadcaster Jenni Murray, chair of the nine-member panel who decided which of five Costa category winners would take the overall prize, said "Bring Up the Bodies" stood "head and shoulders" above the rest.

"This is a very difficult prize to judge, because there are five categories and they are so different," she told reporters ahead of a reception in London announcing the winner.

"It's not an easy prize to judge, but I have to say today one book simply stood head and shoulders - more than head and shoulders, on stilts - above the rest."

Mantel had been the bookmakers' favorite for the award, which comes with a cheque for 30,000 pounds ($47,000). Category winners each win 5,000 pounds.

Asked whether the judges had considered giving the prize to another author to spread the spoils of literary awards, which usually bring with them a sizeable spike in sales, she replied:   Continued...

Author Hilary Mantel holds her award for the overall prize for her book "Bring up the Bodies" at the Costa Book Awards in central London, January 29, 2013. Mantel won the award for best overall book. REUTERS/Andrew Winning