The Mirror & the Light: Cultural Impact

• Mar 4, 2020 •

The Power of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

In 2009, Hilary Mantel was an author already acclaimed for her fiction and memoir-writing, having been awarded, among other prizes, the MIND Book of the Year and the Cheltenham Prize, as well as being shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction. But the arrival of Wolf Hall would transform Mantel into a household name.

Wolf Hall would win her the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Walter Scott Prize, the Specsavers National Book Awards UK Author of the  Year, and another shortlisting for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Bring Up the Bodies garnered even more awards, including a second Man Booker Prize, the Specsavers National Book Awards UK Author of the Year again, the Costa Novel Award and the Costa Book of the Year Award, along with the South Bank Sky Arts Award.

In January 2014, the Royal Shakespeare Company brought the books to life in two back-to-back productions which won further accolades – five Olivier Award nominations and two wins – and broke West End box-office records, with Ben Miles in the role of Cromwell, a ‘charismatic and chilling’ performance. On its transfer to Broadway, the production gained eight Tony Award nominations and one win, with an ‘emotionally charged’ staging which opened just as the BBC aired its six-part adaptation.

Starring Mark Rylance and Damien Lewis as Cromwell and the King, the television production gained critical nomi- nations and awards around the world: eight Emmy nomina- tions, three Golden Globe nominations, ten BAFTA nominations, four Critics Choice Awards nominations and a Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination, winning twelve international awards in total.

After all this success, breath is bated for 2020’s launch of The Mirror and the Light; while there are hopes for the final part to find its way onstage, Playground Entertainment have confirmed that they will soon be filming the final years of Cromwell’s life from Mantel’s newest work for the BBC.

The Mirror and the Light is out now.

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