Hilary Mantel, premio Booker
Aunque los nombres de JM Coetzee y AS Byatt eran los que más sonaban en la prensa, el de Hilary Mantel era el favorito de todos (incluyendo las casas de apuestas que le daban el 80% de favoritismo). La novela histórica Wolf Hall tenía todos los ingredientes para convencer al jurado. Y lo hizo. Ahora, Hilary Mantel es la Booker 2009 y, al parecer, todos quedaron contentos. Dice The Guardian:
She was the bookies' favourite, the people's favourite and tonight Hilary Mantel became the judges' favourite as Wolf Hall, her vividly told tale of Tudor intrigue, emerged triumphant at the Man Booker prize. By the end of their three-hour meeting today the Booker judges were split three-two in favour of Mantel's fly-on-the-wall account of the life of Henry VIII's fixer, Thomas Cromwell. Although it was not a unanimous decision, Jim Naughtie, the BBC broadcaster who chaired this year's judging panel, said all five were happy to name it the winner. He said: "Our decision was based on the sheer bigness of the book, the boldness of its narrative and scene-setting, the gleam that there is in its detail." Wolf Hall had been one of the hottest favourites in years with, according to Ladbrokes, 80% of all bets on the winner. Some thought being so heavily backed might even count against it, as no bookmakers' favourite had won since Yann Martel's The Life of Pi in 2002. The prize seemed to follow the script, which read: it is Mantel's year and about time too. She is one of the most highly regarded and under-rewarded – in terms of prizes – novelists working in Britain today, and it surprised many that this was her first time on the Booker shortlist. She admitted to the Guardian this week that winning "would provide freedom from having to win the Booker". The novelist was given the trophy at London's Guildhall, along with a £50,000 cheque and a guaranteed leap in worldwide sales. Her victory is all the more impressive because this year's shortlist was widely seen as one of the strongest in years and included former winners JM Coetzee and AS Byatt.