Intriguing Writer- Hilary Mantel

After looking over the writer’s featured on Paris Review, I was unsure about which author to select. I decided to choose someone that I had never heard of before in order to increase my base knowledge. Hilary Mantel was a great choice! It was especially unique to learn about how she fell into the category of historical fiction because she believed that she had missed her chance to be a historian. I instantly connected with this feeling because there have been many decisions in my life where I had to pick one path over another. I often question how my life would be different if I had chosen the other path. It was a great realization to discover that anything is attainable at any age period of life!

Furthermore, Mantel ‘s childhood expressed a lot about her personality. The interview stated that many of her books were based off her past. She grew up in a mill town east of Manchester in a working-class Irish Catholic family and attended the University of Sheffield. This was interesting to read about because Mantel’s past has greatly influenced her literary works. I was extremely interested by this fact because it helped express why Mantel chose to write how and what she did. I believe that perceptions about life translate directly into one’s writings.

Another feature of Mantel’s writing that grasped my attention was how she became interested in historical writing. It was as if the genre was calling her name. She was dissatisfied with the current literature available and felt that she could make a difference. This is an impeccable quality of Mantel because she was unsatisfied with a specific aspect and did not give up on it. Instead, she made an enormous impact and revolutionized the discipline. Mantel was a strong women who stood for what she believed in. While living in Botswana, she constantly struggled with illness and eventually diagnosed herself with a severe form of endometriosis. After this, Mantel wrote numerous works about her personal physical experiences and the female body in general. This was incredible! A woman had diagnosed herself and then helped others overcome this own problems. Hilary Mantel was a great selection to read about!

3 thoughts to “Intriguing Writer- Hilary Mantel”

  1. Chloe,
    I am glad that you found an author that you found interesting and that related to you. I also chose an author who I was not familiar with and enjoyed learning about a different accomplished author and the path he took to find his writing voice.
    I especially enjoyed your discussion about how Mantel’s past effected her writing and her dedication to historical fiction. I think that researching an author’s past and motivations in writing makes reading their work more personal and allows their voice to become more discernible. Then, reading becomes more fun.
    While I have never read a book of this genre, I think it would be interesting to give it a try because it seems fun to think of how other people could perceive alternate realities.
    If you have the chance to read another work by her I would be interested to see if your opinions of her change, or are enhanced.

  2. Chloe,
    It’s awesome that you picked a random author and ended up finding her to be intriguing. I also haven’t read much historical fiction, and so it was interesting that Hilary Mantel found history as such a calling. I really like how you discussed her personal life because I think that kind of thing often drives people to write and affects there writing. She seems like a strong level headed woman. I’m curious to know if you are now interested in reading some of her books?

  3. Chloe,
    I agree with what the others said: it’s great that you were able to connect with an author you’ve never heard of! She sounds like an amazing woman who did not give up on her dreams; she found a way to make them happen even if she didn’t take the obvious path to them. Inspirational. I also agree with what you said about an author’s perception about life driving them to write. I think most of the time writing is a writer’s way of understanding the world or at least expressing the world as they see it to an audience. I also thought it was interesting how Mantel went from mill town to Botswana, I wonder where else she’s lived and how that has influenced her work. Are you interested in historical fiction? Do you think you’d be interested in reading any of her books after learning about her through this interview?


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