Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The Stylist 16: Hilary Mantel

Hilary-Mantel-with-her-winning-novel---credit-Janie-Airey.jpg
books.jpg

Hilary Mantel is the only woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice. In 2009 she won the contemporary fiction prize for her novel Wolf Hall and last year she won the prestigious award again for Bring Up The Bodies, the sequel to Wolf Hall. The start of 2013 has seen her success continue, with Bring Up The Bodies awarded the Costa novel prize. Judges hailed the book as "truly outstanding with a unique voice."

We spoke to Hilary and posed our usual 15 questions. Don't forget to read to the very end to discover what Hilary would like to ask you and feel free to leave your answer in the comments.

1. When was the last time you hid?

I think probably about a week ago. It’s what writers do, we lurk in corners and watch. I do it rather a lot.

2. What’s in your handbag?

A copy of Bring Up The Bodies, a big bag of make-up, a spare pair of shoes, an umbrella, my purse and about a dozen pens.

3. Do you have any tattoos, if so what?

[Laughs]. No.

4. Sedan chair: good idea or a bad idea?

A very bad idea, especially if you weigh as much as me. I should feel that I was being very unfair. It’s unfair to make others carry you at all.

5. What are you most ashamed of?

Not standing up to my step father when I was a young girl. I was young, but I am ashamed of that and I would like to remember myself as having been more forthright.

6. Is the world getting better, or worse?

It’s getting better, most definitely. One only has to look at dentistry.

7. Cheese or chocolate?

Chocolate.

8. What was your finest hour?

The hour I arrived back in Britain, having lived in Saudi Arabia for four years, that was my finest. I arrived into the airport at dawn and the sky was pink and I had the most brilliant feeling of freedom and having survived. It was a claustrophobic place to live, a very restrictive society. I lived there with my husband and I did not want to be one of those wives who gave up, couldn't cope and went back to England. I walked out of the airport and thought “I have survived and now I can write about it.”

9. What does feminism means to you?

Equality of opportunity.

10. Which part of your home do you like best?

I like my office the most as it has a sea view. It’s very much a working office, not just another room. I have a whiteboard and it’s currently my favourite thing for plotting out a chapter. It’s an excellent visual reminder and you can leave it overnight and re-examine it in the morning.

11. What’s guaranteed to make you cry?

Onions.

12. What do you dream about at night?

I could give you a very long answer as I always write my dreams down. They do tend to be on the dark side though.

13. Complete the sentence: Britain needs more…

Fun. Yes, more fun.

14. Are you a lover or a fighter?

A fighter I'm afraid.

15. Have you left the gas on?

No, definitely not. I am someone who always checks.

16. What question would you like to ask Stylist readers?

Which character in English history do you find the most fascinating?

Related

rexfeatures_1697743f.jpg

The Stylist 16: Mena Suvari

Emilia Fox Launches The Disaronno Film Series 5 - Low.jpg

The Stylist 16: Emilia Fox

hero.jpg

50 best free books on Kindle

Comments

More

Jamelia pens powerful essay about racist encounter on UK train

“This behaviour is not ok with me, and it shouldn’t be ok with you”

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017

Claire Danes reveals how she overcame her phobia of female friendship

“Girls were cliquey as eff... that was hard for me.”

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017

Reese Witherspoon opens up about Hollywood’s “Smurfette Syndrome”

“For 25 years, I’ve been the only woman on set.”

by Moya Crockett
16 Jan 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the weekend

From Liv Tyler's new love to Chrissy Teigen's fried chicken fashion

by Nicola Colyer
16 Jan 2017

Khloé Kardashian shuts down reporter who tried to victim-blame sister

The reporter suggested that Kim Kardashian's lifestyle was to blame for the Paris robbery

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017

Malia and Sasha Obama’s first visit to the White House looked amazing

Rare photos from 2008 show the girls, then ten and seven, exploring their new home.

by Moya Crockett
16 Jan 2017

Emma Watson on why Beauty and the Beast role is so important to her

The famous feminist has a very good reason for playing a Disney princess

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017

Zoe Saldana says Trump won the US election because he was “bullied"

“We became bullies”

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017

Nadiya Hussain says yes to new TV project with Bake Off’s Mel and Sue

“The idea is fantastic”

by Kayleigh Dray
13 Jan 2017

The six life lessons Claudia Winkleman learned from her mum

“She taught me everything I needed to know about being female”

by Kayleigh Dray
13 Jan 2017