Sunday, 3 February 2013

Hilary Mantel on the mantelpiece

Hilary Mantel is one of my modern role models.  
To be frank, there aren't many about these days.  

Well, I suppose some might consider the Kardashians 
one but I am not their demographic. 

 For people who don't aspire to be like them, 
lets' face it, there is a shortage.

Hilary Mantel is one of the best modern day writers and am confident that she will be the future Dickens of our times.  
Of course, it isn't just my opinion.

She was awarded a CBE and became a 
Commander of the British Empire in 2006 for her writing.

She wrote Wolf Hall
the first in her trilogy about the reign of Henry VIII.

Then she wrote Bringing up the Bodies and she broke a literary record by winning a prestigious literary award, the Booker -
 two years consecutively.

 She is the first British person and first woman to have won the
 Man Booker prize twice.  
Only two other writers have managed to do so: 

Then she goes and wins the Costa award - 
another prestigious award a few days ago!

I was so excited for her and then she was quoted 
as saying the following.

I was surprisingly relieved only after the fact that there wasn't any apologetic behaviour that women tend to display.

Now, I know that there are plenty of behind the scenes dynamics that operate so I have no idea what is the reason for these recent articles that I read yesterday but it did give me pause for reflection.

 I thought this was just one of those misogynist articles that the Daily Mail ( click on Daily Mail to read article ) like to run on a timely periodic basis so while I did raise an eyebrow, I didn't take proper notice.

But then I saw this article in the Guardian the same day.
You can read it here.

The article wasn't even about a recent memoir - it was published in 2003 so this wasn't a promotional article or serialization of her memoir that her publisher was trying to promote and publicize.  

I, as a follower of hers, was already aware of her health issues of endometriosis and her thyroid problem 
that brought on weight gain. 

But even if you didn't know, 
why bring this up a few days after such an amazing feat?

This just seemed to be the literary equivalent of - 
"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

 Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to make fat a feminist issue. 
In her case, it is a medical side effect of her ailments. 
 I am not saying there is some conspiracy of sorts. 
It's the undercurrent I am not comfortable with.

I just wonder if there would be an article similar to this from another successful male writer.  I am also a fan of Will Self.

Will Self with his shortlisted book, Umbrella

If Will Self, who was also shortlisted, 
had actually won the Booker prize twice, 
would he be subliminally apologetic?  

Close up shot of Will Self
 I do question if he would write an article in a national paper
a few days after winning saying, 
" Why I don't like my facial features. "


  1. Hey, thanks for the comment on my blog :). I'm reading Wolf Hall at the moment. Excited to move on to Bring up the Bodies.

  2. ooops I have to admit I am a Kardashian fan, but only for their fashion style, I would by no means call them my idols. I've not actually read anything written by Mantel, but I'm all for girl/lady power. Was reading a piece in the Mail yesterday about Cherie Blair's struggle being a woman in the law profession.

  3. she sounds like a wonderful woman role model!


  4. I love you for this post. Sometimes I think people just decided not to use their brains anymore... But then I read something like this. And it makes my day.
    I think that we, women, stress about our looks more because we're used to being objectified, whereas men just don't care. The thought doesn't even cross their minds. We, on the other hand, want to have it all. I bet Churchill never thought "Oh, I'm a fat old bastard." But people look at Angela Merkel and think: "You poor thing." ?!?! Fuck 'em all, hope she wins another Booker award!

  5. Pete - thanks for your words. I hope she wins the Nobel!


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