First academic book published on Hilary Mantel.

Posted on 2nd September 2018

The first scholarly volume on the work of Hilary Mantel (who grew up in Derbyshire and Cheshire) is being published this week.

Dr Ginette Carpenter and Dr Eileen Pollard.
Dr Ginette Carpenter and Dr Eileen Pollard.

Hilary Mantel is one of the most popular and lauded novelists working today and is the first British writer to win the Booker Prize on two separate occasions – for Wolf Hall in 2009 and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies in 2012.

Co-edited by Dr Eileen Pollard, a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Chester and Dr Ginette Carpenter, Senior Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University, Hilary Mantel: Contemporary Critical Perspectives is the first collection of essays on this highly celebrated British author – making it the first book-length academic response to her work to date. Published by Bloomsbury, the book is a critical guide to Mantel's work, from her earliest novels through to her recent Thomas Cromwell fictions, including analysis of her short story collections and memoir.

Chapters cover such topics as Mantel's engagement with history to her deployment of the spectral and her extensive intertextuality (the relationship between texts, especially literary ones). It also includes a comprehensive interview with Mantel herself that explores her work and career.

The foreword is written by journalist, broadcaster and author, Mark Lawson, who describes Mantel as ‘among the most consistently inventive and interesting writers in contemporary literature’. Mark specialises in culture and the arts, presenting the BBC Radio 4 flagship arts programme Front Row for many years, for which he interviewed Hilary Mantel in 2013. He is also a Guardian columnist and presents Mark Lawson Talks To… on BBC Four.

Dr Eileen Pollard was awarded her PhD on the writing of Hilary Mantel in 2013. She has worked in the Department of English at the University of Chester since 2015. She is also co-editor (with Berthold Schoene) of Accelerated Times: British Literature in Transition, 1980-2000 (forthcoming Cambridge University Press).

Dr Ginette Carpenter was awarded her PhD on the reading subject in contemporary women’s writing in 2010 and has published work on Jeanette Winterson, Elizabeth Jane Howard and women and the gothic.

Dr Pollard said: “Despite Mantel’s renown and popularity at home and abroad, there remains surprisingly little critical material interpreting the rich and varied content of her work. As a result, this collection of essays aims to introduce students, scholars and general readers of Mantel’s writing to the diversity of her texts in order to showcase the extraordinary range and reach of this contemporary British author, currently at the peak of her writing life.”

Dr Carpenter said: “The main objective of this book is to provide a wide range of readers with a guide to Mantel’s historical fiction, autobiographical writing and short stories, as well as some of her more experimental early novels, that will help explain those most ambiguous elements of her body of work, while demonstrating her fearlessness and breadth as a writer.”

Dr Pollard added: “Our thanks go to Hilary Mantel for her incredibly kind and generous support of this volume from its inception and throughout as well as heartfelt and sincere thanks for the gift of her work; its fierce intelligence, beauty and depth are what makes a volume like this possible.”

Hilary Mantel: Contemporary Critical Perspectives; edited by Dr Eileen Pollard and Dr Ginette Carpenter; published by Bloomsbury; can be bought directly from the publishers at:

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/hilary-mantel-9781474296502/