Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel

Honorary Graduate Hilary Mantel CBE (Hon DLitt 2011) is the first woman and first British author to have won the Man Booker prize for literature twice; for her best-selling novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.

She is currently working on the sequel to the two prize-winning books, The Mirror and the Light.

Hilary’s proudest professional moment happened in 1983.

“When I was living in Saudi Arabia, ill and feeling isolated, I opened a letter that gave me the news I desperately wanted: my novel Every Day is Mother’s Day had been accepted for publication,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is the beginning of everything.’ I wanted to laugh and exult but when I opened my mouth nothing came out. I was stunned by joy.”

Hilary later moved back to the UK and a few years ago settled in Devon. One of her great joys is to be able to look out over the sea every day, as she works and goes about her life.

She is personally inspired by charity founder, psychotherapist and author Camila Batmanghelidjh, who she describes as “brave and effective.”

“She shows how the womanly virtue of nurturance can flourish in a public context,” she added.

Hilary believes in individuals instilling confidence, both within themselves and in others, to help create a better life:

“Change will happen. We can say in what direction; we have some control. Women must inspire themselves and other women with self-belief, so that they shape the future as they wish it to be,” she explained.

“Don’t be content to dream. Define your ambitions and pursue them.”