08 March 2013
The double-Booker winner told the BBC that she has 'no regrets' and that the 'plastic princess' controversy was the result of her words being deliberately taken out of context ...
The double-Booker winner told the BBC that she has 'no regrets' and that the 'plastic princess' controversy was the result of her words being deliberately taken out of context
Speaking in an interview on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves programme, Hilary Mantel told interviewer Anne McElvoy that words from her Royal Bodies essay, which appeared in the London Review of Books, had been taken out of context.
'My lecture and the subsequent essay was actually supportive of the royal family and when I used those words about the Duchess of Cambridge, I was describing the perception of her which has been set up in the tabloid press,' she said.
'My speech ended with a plea to the press and to the media in general. I said 'back off and don't be brutes. Don't do to this young woman what you did to Diana.
'My whole theme was the way we maltreat royal persons, making them one superhuman and yet less than human.
'I don't believe for one moment that there was any lack of clarity, after all, I have been practising my trade for a number of years now.
'It was a matter of taking the words completely out of context – twisting the context – and setting me up as a hate figure. I have absolutely no regrets. What I said was crystal clear.'
Hilary Mantel was last night awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature 2013. The £40,000 prize is given for a lifetime achievement in literature. Previous winners have included Muriel Spark, Seamus Heaney and in 2011, Julian Barnes.
‘I did at first find it a little bit hard to take in because my husband gave me the news and I said “Oh I think you mean I’ve been invited to the David Cohen awards",' she said. 'It was not on my horizon, but of course, here I am and it’s a very wonderful place to be. There are some readers who think that I was born on the day Wolf Hall was published. This prize acknowledges that there are no overnight sensations in the creative arts. That’s not the way it works. The ground has to be prepared and I feel that this is recognition of the fact that for many many years I’ve been trying to perfect my craft…I want to assure the judges that much as there is a lifetime's worth of work behind me, there is still a lifetime's worth of work still to come...'
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