HILARY MANTEL HAS won the Man Booker Prize for the second time, becoming only the third author to do so.
She beat off competition from five other authors, including hotly-tipped Will Self, to win the £50,000 (€62,000) prize for her book Bring Up the Bodies, which charts the life of Thomas Cromwell.
Only Peter Carey and JM Coetzee have won the prize twice. However Mantel becomes the first person to win with a sequel and has the shortest interlude between wins, having won in 2009 for Wolf Hall.
Upon being presented with the award tonight, she told the audience: “You wait 20 years for a Man Booker Prize and two come at once”.
Mantel was the only nominee on the shortlist who had ever won the prize before. The other nominees were Deborah Levy for her book Swimming Home, Alison Moore for The Lighthouse, Will Self for Umbrella, Jeet Thayil for Narcopolis and Tan Twan Eng for The Garden of Evening Mists.
Mantel can expect to see increased sales as well as the £50,000 cheque. Last year’s winner, The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes, went on to sell more than 250,000 copies in the UK.