Manchester Literature Festival is delighted to present An Evening with Hilary Mantel. For this special event hosted by author Kamila Shamsie, Hilary will be in Manchester to launch The Mirror & The Light, the much anticipated final book in her thrilling and internationally acclaimed Tudor trilogy.
One of our most remarkable writers, Hilary has written a feast of novels, memoirs and short stories including A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black, Fludd and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. It is with the epic and extraordinary Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies however, that she became the first British author to win two Booker Prizes and the only writer to have won with two consecutive novels.
With her new novel The Mirror & The Light, Hilary traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.
England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, whilst his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.
Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him?
Presented in partnership with the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester, with support from our bookshop partner Waterstones Deansgate and The Edwardian Manchester – A Radisson Collection hotel.