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Hilary Mantel First Woman To Win Booker Prize Twice

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Finally this hour, a first from the prestigious Man Booker Prize. This year's winner is Hilary Mantel for her novel "Bring Up the Bodies." She's the first woman to win the award twice. Each year, the literary prize is given to a citizen of the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth countries or the Republic of Ireland. Here's NPR's Elizabeth Blair.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Hilary Mantel also becomes the first writer to win the Man Booker with a sequel. "Bring Up the Bodies" follows "Wolf Hall," which won the prize in 2009. Set in the 16th century, the novels tell the story of Thomas Cromwell who was chief minister to King Henry VIII. Hilary Mantel once said she's always been fascinated with Cromwell, calling him ruthless but no more so than other contemporary politicians. Here she is reading from "Bring Up the Bodies" on NPR earlier this year.

HILARY MANTEL: (Reading) He never spares himself in the king's service, he knows his worth and merits and makes sure of his reward; offices, perquisites and title deeds, manor houses and farms.

BLAIR: Judges for this year's Man Booker Prize say "Bring Up the Bodies" was chosen from 145 different novels. They call it one of the great achievements of modern literature. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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