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Hilary Mantel Takes Home the 2012 Man Booker Prize

Congratulations to Hilary Mantel. As predicted by many, her novel Bring up the Bodies has just been announced in London’s Guildhall as the winner of this year’s £50,000 Man Booker Prize award. This also means that signed copies of Bring Up the Bodies will increase in value very quickly, so jump on it if you want one.

The announcement makes Mantel the first British author ever to be awarded the Booker Prize twice (she won previously in 2009 for Wolf Hall). Both Peter Carey (Australia) and J.M. Coetzee (South Africa) have won the prize twice.

The Booker Prize judges had the simultaneously daunting and enviable task of selecting just 12 semi-finalists for the longlist, down from a list of 145 submissions. Then from the 12 that made the longlist, they cut away half, leaving just six novels for the shortlist, including the winner. The other five finalists consisted of:

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
Umbrella by Will Self
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

All six of the shortlisted authors receive £2,500.

The Booker Prize was first awarded in 1969, and goes to the judges’ determination of best English language full-length novel. There were some murmurs and grumbles of dissent last year around that rule, as the 2011 award went to Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending which many assert should be classified as a novella at only 150 pages.

Enormous admiration and congratulations to the winner, the finalists, and even all those who made the longlist – an astonishing accomplishment, and a sign of excellent literature. We will be sure to read as many as we can.

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