Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel was announced Tuesday as the winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize for "rewrit[ing] the rules for historical fiction." According to Sir Peter Stothard, this year's chief judge, "in Bring Up the Bodies, our greatest modern writer retells the origins of modern England."
The Man Booker Prize, which has been awarded annually since 1969, celebrates the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, The Commonwealth and The Republic of Ireland. Past winners include Julian Barnes for his 2011 novel The Sense of an Ending and Howard Jacobson, whose The Finkler Question snagged the prize in 2010.
Read our interview with 2010 Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson about his new novel, 'Zoo Time.'
Mantel was born in Derbyshire, England on July 6, 1952. She studied law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University. Before becoming an author, Mantel was employed as a social worker, and lived in Botswana and Saudi Arabia before returning to Britain in the mid-1980s. She is the bestselling author of 10 previous novels.
Mantel's Wolf Hall, which Kirkus described as an "exhaustive examination of the circumstances surrounding Henry VIII's schism-inducing marriage to Anne Boleyn," was awarded the prize in 2009. The only other authors to have won the award more than once are South Africa's J.M. Coetzee and Australian author Peter Carey.
Other titles shortlisted for this year's prize are Jeff Thayil's Narcopolis, Deborah Levy's Swimming Home, Will Self's Umbrella, Tan Twan Eng's The Garden of Evening Mists and Allison Moore's The Lighthouse.
The winner is awarded £50,000, or roughly $80,000.