British author Hilary Mantel made literary history last night by becoming the first woman to win the prestigious Man Booker prize twice, and the first author to win it with a direct sequel. Mantel, 60, overcame 144 other entries to win the prize with Bring Up the Bodies, the second in a historical trilogy set in the court of Henry VIII, CNN reports. She won the prize in 2009 with the first installment, Wolf Hall. "You wait 20 years for a Booker Prize and two come along at once," Mantel quipped when accepting the award at a ceremony in London. "I have to do something very difficult now: I have to go away and write the third part of the trilogy."
Only two other authors have won the Booker twice. "This double accolade is uniquely deserved," says the chairman of the Booker judges. "This is a bloody story about the death of Anne Boleyn, but Hilary Mantel is a writer who thinks through the blood. She uses her power of prose to create moral ambiguity and the real uncertainty of political life," he says. "It is well-trodden territory with an inevitable outcome, and yet she is able to bring it to life as though for the first time." Asked whether Bring Up the Bodies could be called a thriller, the chairman referenced The Godfather, the BBC reports. "You can see as much Don Corleone in this book as DH Lawrence," he said.