Hilary Mantel has become the third author in literary history after Peter Carey and J M Coetzee, to win the Man Booker Prize twice.
Mantle was awarded the £50,000 prize this evening for her novel Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to her 2009 Booker-winner Wolf Hall. She joked: "You wait 20 years for a Booker Prize, and two come along at once..." adding: "It's not the Olympics; you're only as good as your last paragraph, and I've not written one of those today."
She was the bookies' favourite to win, and scooped Twan Eng's The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books); Deborah Levy's Swimming Home (And Other Stories/Faber); Alison Moore's The Lighthouse (Salt); Will Self's Umbrella (Bloomsbury); and Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis (Faber). Each of the shortlisted authors takes home £2,500 plus a specially commissioned handbound edition of their book.
Bookseller Jonathan Ruppin said: "Mantel has been writing superb fiction for much longer than she has been winning major awards, so many readers will soon discover that she is their new favourite author. There’s every possibility she might pull off a unique treble when she completes the trilogy."