James Naughtie, chair of judges said :
Hilary Mantel has given us a thoroughly modern novel set in the 16th century. Wolf Hall has a vast narrative sweep that gleams on every page with luminous and mesmerising detail. ... It probes the mysteries of power by examining and describing the meticulous dealings in Henry VIII's court, revealing in thrilling prose how politics and history is made by men and women. ... In the words of Mantel's Thomas Cromwell, whose story this is, "the fate of peoples is made like this, two men in small rooms. Forget the coronations, the conclaves of cardinals, the pomp and processions. This is how the world changes."Mantel is the first British winner of the Booker in 5 years. Of the £50,000 prize money, Mantel is quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying :
It's earnings. That may seem a very cold way of looking at a major award, but cost out what an author earns per hour and it's far, far less than the minimum wage. The return is not great. The money from prizes, welcome though it is, must be used to pay the mortgage.Worth reading is this review of the novel by Janet Maslin in The New York Times. There's an interesting interview with Mantel up on the Booker website and another by Ada Edemariam in The Guardian. You can read the extract from the novel (which appeared in The New York Review of Books) here. You can also hear Nabtel talk about the book and read from it on the BBC website.